You may have heard of a day urging everyone to “Unplug” – it’s a simple idea: put away your devices, look up from your phone, laptop, or games, and go outside, spend time with family, unwind. There’s even a National Day of Unplugging each Spring that was started by Reboot, a nonprofit Jewish community who were inspired by taking a break on the Sabbath. Good idea you say, and yet you are likely reluctant to hide your phone or tablet for even a few hours! For many of us, the importance of stepping away from technology grows along with our dependency on it.
At Project House, we feel it’s important to take a regular tech break and smell the flowers/walk the seawall/stare deep into a dog’s eyes.
Now if you’re like me and the idea of being away from email for 24 hours gives you heart palpitations or if your job is remote or online and you don’t really have the choice to take a whole day off, remember that every small step counts. Meet a friend for coffee and pledge to leave your phones in your bag. Sign off from social media for an afternoon and take a walk outside. Make a ‘no phones at the table’ rule during meals. Read a book in one room and leave your phone and computer in another. Dare yourself to post your blog a day late. The goal is to disconnect for a period to relish the freedom from the never-ending information overload and focus on your surroundings and yourself. You’ll be amazed at what might stand out as important and what your brain can dream up when not faced with the constant stream of other people’s ideas and updates. Problem solving, motivation, and organization – these all stem from a clear mind, and you might just find the inspiration you were looking for inside of you, instead of on Pinterest.
Need some tips on starting small? Schedule a weekly “unplug” hour or afternoon. Keep your phone in your bag when you’re with friends. Keep your phone outside the bedroom when you go to sleep. Set up a “I’ll get back to you soon!” autoreply for emails, so you’re not a slave to answering right away. And next Spring, remember to pencil in the National Day of Unplugging. You can take the Unplug pledge at http://nationaldayofunplugging.com (and they’ll even send you a sleeping bag for your phone!)