Continuing the series
With this week’s topic “Take a vacation of your cell phone, internet, and TV once a year”.
This one is a little easier than the last couple. It’s something we all KNOW, but few DO. This week we explore why you should “Take a vacation of your cell phone, internet, and TV once a year”.
The idea is an old one
Even though the idea of a cell phone, the internet or TV is relatively new we can easily see it encapsulated in a very old saying: All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.
Believe it or not
While you may be familiar with the saying from Stephen King’s “The Shining” when Jack Torrance types it over and over again while going mad, this idiom has been around for a very long time, and no one really knows the origin. It seems the first recorded use was in 1659 (yeah, you read that right!) when it first appeared in James Howell‘s Proverbs.
And did you know
In 1825 a second line was added, although it did not “stick” like the first one did:
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.
Personally, I think that second line is as poignant as the first!
It was easier then
Way back in 1659 when we weren’t always attached and carrying our little computers around in our pockets 24/7/365, it may have been easier to accomplish “unplugging” (even the TERM wouldn’t have existed then!) from everything than it is today. Then all you had to do was get up and go somewhere else to relax.
The beauty is
The great thing about technology, especially portable technology like a laptop or phone is that you CAN take it with you wherever you go. No matter where you are IN THE WORLD, chances are you can make and receive calls, monitor email, and complete work. That’s fantastic and allows people the freedom to travel without missing important deadlines and jobs.
Even as an entertainer
One of the things I love about technology is that even when I am away from home I can audition for VO and acting gigs, and sometimes even complete them entirely away from home. As I mentioned in an earlier blog I recently set up a travel VO rig, and now routinely take my tripod/camera along if I am going to be away from my studio. It’s great and allows me to stay connected to clients and potential clients even when I travel.
MY caveat is I take these things with me when I am not really “vacationing”. So, if I am going to be on location for a week of filming, or I am just going out of town to visit family for a week I take my whole rig. No sense in missing work because I am doing work, right?
Here’s the problem
By bringing all your devices with you on vacation you are MUCH more likely to keep working. Granted, even people who work while on vacation work a lot less, but they are not 100% on vacation nonetheless. A survey conducted by BankMyCell in 2019 found that:
- 85% of people went on vacation to “get away from it all”
- 92.5% of people feel compelled to take their phones with them on vacation
- Smart Phone users interact with their phones more than once every 10 minutes
- 41.5% of people report they feel obligated to respond to work emails while on vacation
- 47% regret staying “plugged in” on vacation
Other than that fourth bullet, I am in the population the surveyors are talking about. I suppose that much of the time I reside in that 4th bullet as well, but definitely place self-imposed limits. You see, I am an early riser – and none of the rest of my friends/family are. So when it comes to work emails, when on vacation anyway, I limit myself to only early morning hours when everyone else is asleep and then only to respond that I am on vacation and when I’ll return.
With today’s smart phones and the awesome cameras they provide, I take my phone pretty much everywhere, if only for taking pictures. Of course, it also comes in handy as a translator (if in a foreign country) or a way to find that fabulous restaurant using GPS. It is also useful to book tickets to events without driving all over town to find a box office.
Not to mention
As a small business owner and one-man band, it is nearly impossible to completely disconnect these days. I recognize that completely disconnecting, even for a short time, can set your business back and then increase stress and workload later when you feel like you must “catch up”.
There DOES come a time
When your devices, even if they are WITH you, need to stay turned off. In an article written by Lisa Davis of USA Today (2013), she quotes Bruce Davis, co-director of Silent Stay Retreat Home & Hermitage in California: “The habit of checking email and text messages every few minutes has gotten us out of the habit of enjoying being where we are, who we are with and simply being in the moment”. And sometimes just being in the moment is exactly what we need.
But here is the thing
You really don’t have to “catch up” and your work (SHOCKING) can go on without you. I have learned this valuable lesson over time by observing what happens at work (before I retired) when people were suddenly not there anymore. If you work as long as I did (40+ years) there are numerous times when a co-worker retires, goes on vacation or (sadly) passes away suddenly. And here is what I observed: fundamentally nothing changes. Work goes on, even if they pause briefly (usually VERY briefly). The sad truth is NO ONE is irreplaceable.
Take time for YOU
As difficult as it is, sometimes the best thing to do is to completely unplug. The reasons are many, but what follows are 5 reasons from Aha Insurance to unplug:
- Recharge your mental batteries: Your brain needs this downtime to recharge and repair itself
- Better/More physical rest: Being connected adds “weight” to our lives. Remove the weight of the world occasionally
- You can reconnect to your senses: Listen to the world, see and pay attention to the beauty around you. It decompresses you.
- Rewire your brain: Turn off your left brain and let your right brain take over. Enjoy some new creative experiences and give the left brain a rest.
- Drop in: Into your marriage, your relationship with your kids and your friends. Enjoy where you are and who you are with and leave the worries behind for a few days.
There is enough
Enough stress, enough work, enough problems that need solving to go around. Unplugging for a few days once a year allows you time to de-stress and relax. Time to reconnect with the world around you. Time to reconnect with your family and friends. It allows you time to rest an recharge so that when you return to work, you won’t need a vacation to recover from your vacation! So, once a year, take a vacation of your cell phone, internet, and TV.
I just need to take my own advice and do the same.
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