This week I am on vacation with my husband and four kids. We are having a blast, frolicking in the sun and the sand. Yet every now and then my serene utopia is interrupted by the sound of a beep or a ding or the hum of a vibrating phone.
My husband seems to be having a little trouble unplugging from the working world we have left behind. As I urge him to shut his phone off or leave it in the room, he reminds me that if he misses an email, he could lose a job. Not his job, as he works for himself, but a job. These are the joys of working for yourself; there truly could be no work tomorrow if you do not answer the phone today.
I am just as guilty with my phone as my better half, only with me it’s pictures and my love of social media and sharing that keeps my phone in my hand. I love snapping pictures of my kids, of the scenery and of humorous things that I see along my way. There is something about the sharing, the immediate satisfaction of someone liking or commenting on your picture. It is a new-age drug of choice, I tell you…
As I sit here writing this, I’m in the cottage we rented, overlooking the lake, while the rest of my family is off having fun. I am missing it, but I have to since this is my job. If I don’t write today, there may not be work tomorrow.
You just have to type in the question, “Why do we need to unplug?” into Google, and you’ll find hundreds of reasons. Get more creative, de-stress a little, use your brain in other ways to keep it healthy, and the most important, maintain real relationships with real people.
I read an article from a friend of mine the other day in which she writes about how she took her kids to an amusement park and made a conscious decision to leave her phone at home. I have to admit that would be really hard for me. Just imagine all the Instagram fun I could have! What about pictures? Didn’t she want to take pictures?
Then it dawned on me: bring a camera! They made those before they made smartphones. Just bring a camera, with no WiFi capability, no Twitter or Facebook function; just a simple point-and-shoot-and-share-later camera.
So in the spirit of sharing, I am going to share some tips I found on how to unplug when you work for yourself and from home. It is much easier to walk away from work when you actually leave it at an office. I don’t suggest doing all of these at once or you may slip into a WiFi-free coma.
1. Don’t use email on the weekend. I have been doing this for about three months now, and it works! When you work for yourself, people think you’re always available. At 2pm on Fridays, I turn on my out of office auto-reply. It’s cocktail time.
2. Schedule tech-free times throughout the day. By schedule, I mean put them in your calendar. Even if it’s a few minutes here and there, when your alarm goes off, so does your computer.
4. Pick a day any day! Pick one day a week (depending on your schedule for the week the day could change) and make it a totally technology-free day. I haven’t attempted this yet. I can’t imagine one full day of not emailing, texting, chatting or sharing. We’re talking full-on cave man status.
Now I talk a good talk here and I am the first one to say that I really need to practise more of what I preach. But reading my friend’s article really made me think, we can and need to just put it all away, for longer than an hour or so.
Are you addicted to your technology? Have you been able to unplug? If you have any tips, please share because I could really use some help…
Dee Brun is the award-winning author of Libations of Life: A Girl’s Guide to Life One Cocktail at a Time, a cocktail chef and stylist, TV personality, home entertaining guru, writer, humorist, wife, mother of 4, TV Junkie, shoe-aholic, and borderline George Clooney stalker. Read her column, Isn’t it Deelightful, every Friday on Slice.ca.