This post is part of my 33-page eBook: 9 Secrets Nurses Need to Master for a Healthy Work-Life Balance. Want all 9 Secrets at once? Download them here.
Free up some time: Reconnect by disconnecting.
In this context– reconnecting with our goals, desires and focusing more on our self-care— by practicing the art of disconnection.
If you’re of a certain age, you remember home telephones. Growing up, we had a rotary phone… with a party line!
Anyway, back then of course, we didn’t have cell phones. And when you were out and about during the day, you often never knew someone was trying to get in touch with you until you made it home late in the evening. Unless of course you had a pager. And growing up, the only people we saw with pagers were doctors and businessmen.
So… the importance of this?
Returning phone calls waited… Often for hours and hours at a time if you were out running many errands during the day, or working, or in school… And once you made it home, after hearing the majority of those voicemail messages, those phone calls were never ‘urgent’ or ‘emergencies’ either.
How true is that today?
If you consider the amount of phone calls and emails you get on your personal cell phone or at your personal email address, how many of those are urgent or needing a response right away?
Exactly! Most aren’t.
So let’s practice the art of disconnecting so you can make the time to reconnect to yourself.
So here’s a challenge:
Today, disconnect from one major form of communication with the goal of paying more attention to you and those in your immediate space. But set yourself up for success by not biting off more than you’re willing to chew by starting slow.
Choose ONE of the following options below (remember, go slow):
This is something I practice regularly.
Put your personal cell phone on “do not disturb” mode for 1 hour during a time when you’re most likely to check your text messages, notifications or phone calls. And, don’t text or make phone calls within that same hour as well. Tuck it away or in another room to help you with the urge.
The goal is to realize that every contact doesn’t require an immediate response, and every phone call is not necessarily an emergency.
Then after that hour, give yourself permission to check it.
Are there any messages that needed attention ASAP? Was it okay for those messages to not get a response until after an hour later?
If you’re up for a bigger challenge, see if you can add another hour. During the day at my 8 to 5, I actually had my ringer off the entire day. Most times, I didn’t even realize I had phone calls, voicemail messages, or text messages until I got home over 8 hours later!
If you’re concerned about others needing to get in touch with (e.g., your kids), I have another option…
Ever see drama or a crisis unfold on social media? Or maybe you were that drama or crisis?
Would not seeing someone’s crisis free up your mental space or take away that negative energy? Probably.
Sometimes the situations we witness in others can have a huge affect on our work and home life– and mental well-being.
So, let’s try taking a break from it…
Delete a social media app from your phone for 24 hours.
Choose one: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest… you name it.
If you want an even bigger challenge, delete the one app that you use the most.
Then, when the 24 hours are up, feel free to add the app back onto your phone. Or, if you can handle it, try 2 or 3 days without the app.
So what if you’re not on social media?
For those of you who check your personal email every few hours, don’t check it for 4. If you check your email twice a day, only check it once. Or, if you check it once daily, leave it alone for 1 day. Remember, this is personal email, not anything dealing with work.
Emails are perfect for being in a non-urgent space. Often, others aren’t waiting for an immediate response, unless you’re known to be at a desk all day.
So unless you answer the email, most people won’t think you’re reading it immediately after they sent it to you.
Think about it this way… some people use email just because it doesn’t require an immediate response (I know I do). So, try going without it for a few hours, if not the whole day.
A confession: I had an addiction with politics. So much so that I watched 5-6 hours of it a day— after work. Yes, really!
And this left me with very little time to have a life!
So what I found with watching that much T.V. was that I was always angry. And at one point, I decided to cut down my T.V. time to less than 1 hour a day. And now my T.V. time, including other non-political programs, comes to about 5 hours total per week.
Unless Law and Order SVU or Fixer Upper has a marathon, of course.
Let’s try you…
Cut the amount of T.V. you watch daily by half. And use that time for other things you enjoy. You’ll be amazed at the things you’ll find to do or interests you’ll take up.
Are you having resistance with any of these options? Don’t think it’s possible to do?
It could mean that you’re putting someone else’s goals ahead of yours. It could be your employer, your friends, or even a project that doesn’t even improve your life in any way. So, consider those things, and look at the options again.
And what’s the result of disconnection… Reconnection!
When you disconnect for periods of time, you’ll find that you have no choice but to focus on things that are in front of you at the moment.
When you’re ready, instead of ignoring one distraction (Facebook) to take on another distraction (checking email), fill that 1-hour disconnect time (or 24-hour disconnect time) with a yoga class, an ice cream date with your child, or working on starting your own business.
Reconnect in ways that will move your goals forward. You’ll be in a much calmer space + happier place when you do.
One other thing– when you train yourself to disconnect from those things that aren’t important, you train others that your time is important.
You train them how you want them to treat you (and contact you). And they’ll find that those calls or text messages that they send you won’t be so ‘urgent’ after all.
So what do you think? Which option would be right for you to try, and for how long? Let me know in the comments below.