My favorite part of snail mail is getting magazines. I don’t subscribe to many, but I love the ones I get: Inc. Magazine, Mother Earth News, Fast Company, and Our State.
It was the July/August 2013 cover of Fast Company that grabbed my attention:
#UNPLUG: My life was crazy. So I disconnected for 25 days. You should too.
I let that headline sink in. See, when I read that article, I had just disconnected for 16 days myself. No smartphone, no email, no internet service of ANY kind. Heck, we didn’t have plumbing or electricity, either! In June of 2013, I rafted 225 miles of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. It was epic – and life changing (but that’s a story for another day).
Now, to be clear, the dude who wrote this article in Fast Company Magazine was a busy guy: Mayor of FourSquare in his area,involved in EVERY social media outlet possible, and a bigtime journalist and writer. You, gentle reader, may not be quite so connected. It doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t get his reasons for wanting to unplug:
- His life was indeed crazy. Crazy busy. 24/7 crazy busy.
- He wanted to be mentally free of obligations, most of which asserted themselves in some way in digital fashion.
Can you relate? If you think about it, I bet A LOT of the requests for your time, your money, and your energy come to you digitally. Probably mostly via email, but messages on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking sites are gathering momentum.
And it is stressing you out. It’s making you distracted. And you’re suffering from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).
I see you checking email in the middle of networking meetings; as your employees are trying to talk to you; while you’re driving (or at best while stopped at red lights); in the middle of dinner wth your families; and as you soon as your eyes pop open in the morning.
You are afraid. Afraid of missing out: on the big deal; with the next big potential client; with the angry client (we have to be responsive, don’t we?). And you’re afraid of just not being “in the know.”
There are ways to regain control and sanity. As the Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan would say, “We must create and use rules, boundaries, and limitations.” It’s the only way to beat back the crazies and allow ourselves to #UNPLUG.