It is accepted and expected to be plugged in at all times, connected with a constant stream of information. Entering a coffee shop in this day and age reminds me of walking into the computer lab in my university days. Everyone is silently typing away on their laptops, i-phones and other electronic devices. Coffee shops used to be a place to meet and talk. They have become a place to communicate in cyber space.
During a short break at one of my workshop on Mini-Retreats, I noticed three participants standing close together, all of them checking their blackberries. When I asked why they were using their break in this fashion, one of them responded: “I don’t want to miss anything.”
So what do you miss, when you are afraid to miss out in cyber space?
- Face-to-face and heart-to-heart connection with your family, friends and colleagues.
- Opportunities to strengthen the relationships that matter most in your life and work.
- Time for reflection and creativity.
- Connecting with yourself, your dreams and your goals.
- An opportunity to reduce stress and relax.
You really don’t know what you are missing until you press the “off” button(s) and take the plunge into life unplugged. This might be scary at first, however the rewards far outweigh the risks.
Great Times to Unplug:
Make breakfast, lunch and dinner, electronic free time zones and eat your meal in gratitude without interruptions. One of my clients created a family policy to keep dinner time free of interruptions. Her husband was reluctant at first, because he was scared of missing important business calls. Once they enjoyed a few meals together, he thanked his wife for suggesting the new rule. He now understands how unplugging helps reduce stress. Most business calls can wait on the answering machine. He actually feels empowered and more in control, now that he is answering calls on his schedule.
Since you are no longer allowed to drive and talk on your cell-phone in British Columbia, many of my clients tell me how much they enjoy fun Mini-Retreats while driving: red-light relaxer, moving to the rhythm and singing along with your favourite music to name just a few. Do yourself a favour and make your commute a special time to unplug and reduce stress. You will feel more energized when you arrive.
Your First Hour at Work
As part of life coaching, I help my clients increase their effectiveness. One important steps towards more focus is to spend the first hour at work unplugged, working pro-actively on a project. It feels fantastic to achieve substantial results when the day is still fresh. You get much more done, reduce stress and feel more in control of your day at work.
With wireless internet and easy access to the electronic highway of communication, it may be tempting to stay connected while you are on holidays. However, the purpose of your vacation is to relax and recharge. Create an automatic reply message for your e-mail and voice-mail and enjoy a true vacation.
Once you get a taste for the quality of life without constant interruptions, you will naturally want to create more time for life unplugged. You may even choose to make life unplugged the priority and limit your time on cyber space to certain hours of the day. Enjoy!
Please share your experience with life unplugged and help other readers reduce stress.