It may be time to take the work day back.
I know many of us started solo careers so that we could shake the shackles of the 9 to 5, but our hyper-connected digital lives are creating a space for us to work anywhere, anytime... and it seems that might be exactly what we're doing.
And of course, those of us working as solos are not the only ones feeling it. The blur of the line for sending and replying to work email and posting to social media has all of us too often feeling the need to work all the time. And we all understand why. It seems that even when we try to put that darn smart device away, we wonder and worry what we might be losing out on if we're not checking in. And in doing this, we're actually forgetting what we are indeed losing out on - the life in front of us that very moment.
Was that what we wanted?
Far too often our shift to being a solo leaves us feeling so dependent our on smart devices to stay 'connected', 'in the loop', and at the 'fore of everyone's mind' that we can forget that real connections come when we meet face-to-face, have conversations, extend ourselves, teach one another, learn, talk, listen, socialize, and make friends, and build community.
Because how connected can we be to the people, places, and experiences that are happening right in front of us when we're constantly pulled away and looking at something else; literally or metaphorically.
So in the spirit of building a work lifestyle that really works, here are few ways to consider unplugging with confidence in order to possibly connect authentically.
- Set working hours. Do this for you and for your clients. It doesn't have to be Monday to Friday 9-to-5 if you don't want that, but being clear about when you're available will help you get comfortable leaving that voicemail or email until 'opening hours'. Letting your clients know when your shop opens and closes will also help them understand when to expect to connect. This clarity in communication will make everyone happier.
- Power-down to promote creation over consumption. There is plenty to consume. Plenty. You'll do yourself and your business a favor if your 'creating hours' outweigh your 'consumption hours'. Make sure and tip your scale toward creation.
- Better manage your time online with smart tools. There are several online tools that can block access to specific websites for different time periods, like Selfcontrol, or that can completely disable your internet connection for a defined time period, like Freedom. Try them!
- Take extended technology breaks and build them into your calendar. This might be for certain hours or certain days, and when you get brave enough this might even be for certain weeks. Planning these technology breaks helps you be more mindful and intentional about your 'tech breaks' and helps you build the discipline to step away from that phone.
- Host unplugged events. Go on, give it a try. It's really okay if there are no social media photos to confirm all that fun at your event!
There really is no one 'right way' to unplug from work, so do what makes sense to you. But try unplugging, if for no other reason than to know, that we can still connect even when we're disconnected.