September is here, which means school is back in swing and the holidays (believe it or not) are right around the corner. If you’re like me, you’ve likely been scrambling to finish projects and get your ducks in a row prior to 2018, with the hope of having a day or two to enjoy family and friends (and not work the holidays away). Recently, I realized how asinine this thinking is. I don’t need just one or two days away from my computer, email, social media, and phone — I need as much time as possible.
Normally, I’ll work here and there on projects, strategies, outreach, marketing — whatever it takes to boost my business (especially during slow times, like the beginning of the year). This year, I’m focusing on myself, my health, my family, and my happiness. Realizing that work and technology takes away from these focuses was my first step in trying to correct this problem.
When I take my tech breaks, I attempt to stay away from any and all work-based technology. Emails receive an autoreply and will remain otherwise untouched. Phone calls are courteously handled by my voicemail. Strategies are executed ahead of time, or wait until I’m back in the office. Social media sits idly, receiving minimal effort from automation programs, but otherwise disengaged. And even though I’m a bit disconnected, I don’t feel anxious at all.
With these tech breaks, I focus on regaining better sleeping habits, spending quality time with others, enjoying quiet moments without reaching for my phone to fill the time, writing and reading more, and playing with my son. I try to boost my creativity and find ways to be less distracted. Most importantly (as far as my business goes), I want to prove that nothing catastrophic will happen if I don’t plug away at it for a couple weeks, which is important for business owners to do and know.
Have you taken a tech break, or are you planning on taking one soon? As I wrote in “The Better Way to Waste Time“, we spend nearly two entire days per month on random time-wasting apps on our phones and tablets. This shows how distracted and disconnected we are from one another. Another indicator of that — every single person I spoke to this season says that they are more stressed and less happy than other holidays. Technology adds to this stress and unhappiness. The main reason you should take a tech break (especially from social media) is that your happiness depends on you and those around you — and social media is a poor reflection of a person’s true happiness. Spend quality time with others, and feel that stress melt away.
I hope that you take a break away from technology, and especially from work — you need it!
Originally posted on Start-Up with Nicole in September 2017.