What do you need to unplug from? The internet? Family? Friends? Your Business? Email? Social Media? TV? Caffeine? Maybe it’s all of the above. Maybe it’s just a few of those things. Have you lost your way? Do you know why you are doing what you’re doing? Why do you spend your day the way you do? What is it that keeps you tightly wound that you are not able to focus on the big picture?
These are great questions that we all need to be able to answer. There are times, for our own health, the health of our business and the health of our relationships that we need to just simply “unplug”. While that might mean something different for each one of us, the need for it is the same for all of us.
I’m a “doer”. I can “do” a lot of different tasks and manage them quite easily. So much so, that I can get caught up in the tasks and not step back, slow down and look at the big picture. (Having a coach really helps with this.) I love times when I can step back… but they don’t happen often enough in my life.
Over this past year, I was led to “unplug” from all the many things I was intensely plugged into in my life. At first, it was great! I enjoyed the freedom it gave me. But that lasted all of about a week. Staying focused and busy is what I do really well. I had to find balance in my life. While I had great dreams, I was too busy to accomplish anything beyond what was immediately in front of me.
But here’s the thing… through my season of unplugging I learned a great many things about myself, my life, my business, my ministry and where I was going in general with everything. I had to learn to be still… be quiet… REST! That was the toughest one. I was so busy “being busy” that I did not know how to even rest. I became “restless” while resting. Is that a dichotomy or what?
What about you? Where are you in the “busy-ness” of life? Are you stressed? Tired? Overworked? Needing focus? Needing a new vision? Do you need direction and a sense of clarity in what you are doing?
If you answer yes to any of those things, maybe, just maybe you need to unplug in some areas of your life for a season. I’m not saying permanently, just a pre-defined season. (Btw… If you just wing it and don’t get specific, you’ll not accomplish what you need to accomplish.) It doesn’t have to be long… but it does need to be long enough for you to find the direction and clarity you are looking for. Be clear going in to it what you plan to accomplish and what you will unplug from… AND DON’T GIVE IN TO TEMPTATION TO PLUG BACK IN! Because you will be tempted. Ask me how I know?
Here are some “unplugging” possibilities. I believe a few of them might resonate with you.
- Social Media! I’m not just talking one area, I’m saying ALL social media. (LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and yes… even Facebook
.That was a tough one for me because I truly enjoyed interacting with friends and family. But I found that it was also “stealing” a lot of my time and energy. For a season, I unplugged. (I had to prove to myself that I could.)
- Email! I know what you’re thinking, you survive on email. It’s part of your business. OK… if you can’t delegate that to someone else, only allow yourself X amount of time per day… ONCE per day. I guarantee you if you do that, you’ll not waste time on things that aren’t important for your business and life.
- The Phone! Just because someone calls, doesn’t mean you have to answer at that moment. Let voicemail pick it up and return the call later when you have designated time in your schedule to do that. Or better yet, totally unplug! Hand your phone to your assistant (if you have one) and let them handle all calls. You can return the calls that require your attention, but let someone else handle everything else.
- Blogging! Do you blog? That’s great! When you choose your season for unplugging, prepare your blogs in advance and schedule them to post at the appropriate times. OR… simply let your readers know you are unplugging… “taking a time out”. What a GREAT message that will send them on the importance of taking care of yourself.
- Smart Phones! Whether it is the internet surfing, text messages or play, sometimes you just simply need to leave your cell phone at home. Now for me, I feel NAKED without my cell phone. Seriously. I have withdrawals. So I have to MAKE myself have a time-out from my cellphone and leave it in another room where I can’t hear it. That’s hard… but if I need to rest, it’s necessary. Otherwise, I pick it up all the time to “see what’s going on”.
- Television! Yes, you can survive without it. You’ll be shocked at how much more you get done, how much more focused you become without the clutter of television stealing your time and filling your head with things that don’t belong there.
Those are just a few things. What do you need to unplug from so you can go to the next level in life?
Here’s the bottom line: You need YOU TIME so you can be a better, Leader, Parent, Spouse, Friend and Co-worker. UNPLUG for seasons of your life so you can have that time out for focus, vision planning and just plain old rest!
My husband knows when I need to unplug. Those are the times he encourages me to go to the ocean for a couple of days. (Could it be I’ve gotten grumpy?) He knows what it will do for me. I come back invigorated with my batteries recharged! In writing this… I just realized it has been a year since I last did this. It’s so time! I hear the ocean calling me!
Your season of unplugging can last 6 hours, 1 day, an entire week or month. Regardless of the designated time, stick with it. You’ll find a stronger, fresher and more focused YOU at the end of it. Trust me, you need it. We all do!