By Frank Emanuele I recently found myself without internet access for several days while moving into a new apartment. At first I was upset. What would I do without a constant connection to the outside world? But I soon realized that it brought me exactly the peace and quiet that I needed to do some introspection and find clarity. Since coming back online, my mind is well rested, more focused, and able to think much more strategically. But if you're anything like me, I'm sure you can think of a million reasons why unplugging just won't work for you...
"I don't have time right now."
When you do you ever "have time" to do anything? Do you have time to see your doctor? Putting your health (mental or physical) first will always require a sacrifice of some kind. Choose a relatively "safe" time when it's less of a hardship to delegate your work to members of your team, and take some time off. Be as strict as possible about unplugging, and make a commitment to yourself. Turn off push notifications on your smart phone. Check email no more than once or twice a day. Only answer if it's absolutely necessary. Think to yourself, "Can this wait until I'm back in the office? Do I really need to answer this while I'm on vacation?" Go outside. Read a book (preferably one that isn't related to work.) Breathe fresh air. Listen to the sound of your own thoughts.
"But what if something important happens?"
Give your team instructions to contact you via phone or text in case of emergency. If a minor crisis arises, they'll problem solve and learn something new. Trust your team and know that they can handle it. If something really huge happens and they need you, they'll be able to reach you for help. Knowing that you have someone you can rely on is half the battle. Be a little selfish for once!
"How can working less make me better at my job?"
It's all too easy to become so entrenched in your day-t0-day routine that your creativity and strategic thinking abilities become dulled. When you stop and think about it, it's frighteningly easy. It's no secret that an alternative point of view can breathe new life into your work. But what if that alternative point of view was your own? Coming back to a frustrating project after a week of mental rest can work wonders for you. You can really feel like a new person and see new angles previously unimaginable. Trust me on this. It's huge for productivity!
Knowing when to unplug and unwind is one of the single most important parts of being a good marketing strategist. Take two or three days away from the craziness and try it. If you really commit and let yourself detach from all the pressure, you will find yourself refreshed and ready to take on new challenges. Try it and tell me about your experience!
Do you ever truly unplug or is it just too hard to let go? Sound off!