A little over a month ago I was sitting at the beach with my feet in the water with waves rhythmically rolling onto shore. I was sitting by my wife listening to my kids play in the surf. A warm breeze helped keep the humidity at bay and more importantly, there wasn’t an internet-enabled device in sight.
After spending a week at the beach in a house with shoddy Wi-Fi I learned 4 valuable lessons I learned from unplugging.
1. One Device Can Get You Into Trouble
A few months ago I purchased an iPad Mini and I think it has changed my life – or at the very least it has become the center of my digital life.
I use my iPad for everything from reading email to surfing the web to reading books to managing social media. I use my iPad Mini for just about everything digital except writing.
The problem when trying to unplug with one device is that when I’m relaxing I find I’m tempted to check email or do work. I actually had this issue while on vacation but item #2 and #3 helped.
2. No WiFi Can Be A Good Thing
I find it surprising how I expect free WiFi to be everywhere I go. While on vacation the house we were staying in had WiFi but it’s coverage and signal strength were not very good. As a result I couldn’t get consistent internet access on my iPad.
I was mad!
I guess my initial reaction was because of my focus on work. After about a day I realized it was a blessing to have bad WiFi. The lack of internet access allowed my iPad to serve primarily as a reading device and kept me from email…and work.
3. Put Your Devices Away
After about two days at the beach I realized it was best to simply put away my iPad. Now I don’t want to make it appear that I was on my iPad all day. I actually spent the vast majority of the day away from my iPad but the few times I checked it I would be pulled back into work.
I found that by putting the iPad away and not checking it was the best solution for me. If I didn’t see it I wouldn’t use it.
4. Check Email Twice A Day
As much as I enjoyed the time away from work I realized that it was necessary for me to check my work email. The problem was I didn’t want work to dominate my time at the beach.
My solution was to check email twice a day.
I would check my email once before my morning coffee and then again before I would go to bed. I would deal with the emails that needed my immediate attention and archive the emails that could wait until I returned to work the following week.
Lessons for the School Year
I really enjoyed my time at the beach this summer.
I enjoyed unplugging.
I enjoyed my family.
I enjoyed having the time to think strategically about things away from the daily grind.
As we begin the new school year I’m planning on using the lessons from vacation to help me balance work, technology, family, and blogging.
Here are my lessons from vacation:
- One device can be very helpful but understand the positives and negatives.
- Don’t be afraid to turn off your WiFi connection in order to help you focus and get something done without distractions or temptations.
- When appropriate, put your devices away.
- Finally, don’t let email rule your life. I’m planning on checking email at certain, scheduled times during the day and hope not to leave it open on my desktop all day.
I encourage you join me!
Question: I’m always looking for great advice to help me manage my time. Can you share a tip or technique that has been helpful for you?