Are you online, plugged-in, and generally electronically stimulated all the time? Are you sleeping next to your laptop, checking email at 3am when you are only half awake? Are you posting photos of every meal on a social site?
My client Baratunde Thurston and I devised an "unplugged" vacation strategy: 25 days without email or social media, and he wrote about what he learned about the value of unplugging in this article. Want to try it for yourself? Here are my basic tips for unplugging (and if you want my input on creating a custom-tailored Unplugging Experience, you should contact me):
1. Decide what you actually are trying to accomplish in your unplugging (taking time away from work? time away from glowing screens? time devoted to a specific creative project?).
2. Create rules/guidelines based on your actual goals (can communication only come to you from certain people? are you going to hide your phone and laptop and tablet from yourself during a certain period of time? how can you avoid doing things other than your intended projects?).
3. Determine an official schedule that you can communicate to people who may want to reach you (for away messages in email, and to tell people in advance). Consider that you may want to re-plug before you are publicly known to be available. For example, if you plan to be away from email from Dec. 24-Jan. 1, you may want to give yourself some time to take care of last-minute emails before you leave and to read any missed emails when you return. So your publicly-unavailable dates may be more like Dec. 23-Jan 3.
4. Make people who need to know the rules of your disengagement aware of them (i.e. set up away messages, email select folks about your availability or lack thereof, adjust your social media settings accordingly).
5. When the time comes (or maybe the day before the time comes), shut down whatever you're unplugging from.
6. Get yourself relaxed and refreshed!