Are You Ready to Disconnect A Little?
Since we’re in the middle (or hopefully closer to the end) of a crazy pandemic, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on life and technology a little bit.
Every year I have a “theme” or “motto” of how I want to live my life for the year. Each year, it's something like “Small & Tight”, “Own Your Shit”, “No Drama”, etc.
This year? It’s been going ANALOG!
What does that mean? That means my techie self has been moving more toward using old-school techniques to get my work done and using tech more thoughtfully.
The amount of time we waste online and on our devices is insane, right? Can I get an amen? If your anxiety is through the roof, this may be the very thing you need. (I’ll tell you why shortly.)
Now, I know this is a bit of a dilemma these days since just about everything has gone virtual or digital. I mean, we all did SOME kind of work virtually and we’ve all shopped online before and communicated with people you love on our screens. But I don’t think anyone has done all of that exclusively through tech.
So, I know it’s hard, kittens…especially when we’ve been in our homes more than we ever thought we’d be. But…I’m gonna tell you how to put the phone down (I know…deep breath), close the laptop (wipe away the tears), disconnect, and go analog.
It’s possible. You can do this! Here it is…your step-by-step for going analog!
1. Disconnect from tech. Go back to pen and paper. I'm serious.
I use a combination of paper planner 90% of the time with my appointments in my tech calendar. You can do this regardless of whether there’s a virus invading our country. I did this before the Rona, I’m doing it during the Rona, and I will continue to do this after the Rona.
Each morning, map out your important work of the day that must get done and must move your biz forward. Write it in your paper planner. Studies show that when you write it down, it's 40% more likely to get done. 40%! Damn, that’s brilliant and so old school!
2. Do not check your phone first thing in the morning. (Hello, #groovetime)
Leave that shit turned off. If you need to check the news, turn on the TV for 10 minutes…not your phone. Why? Because the TV hasn’t sent you 68 emails or 23 texts. People can friggin wait till you've had a coffee and a poo. Nothing good comes your way until the morning poo (laugh, but you know it's true).
Spend your first few hours writing in your planner or journal about what you really want to get done each day (you can even multitask and do this DURING the poo!). Once you’re done with your daily chores, THEN check your phone.
3. Check email 3x a day (and give yourself a time limit).
I know we’re relying on email even more these days, but set aside time each day to check email and set your timer for 20 minutes to read and respond immediately, and then archive them.
Here's a tip: Don't get stuck ping-ponging back and forth with clients who use email like it’s text messaging. You know, the ones that respond so fast that you get another email a half a second after you hit “send.” Respond to their emails with your scheduling feature*, so you’re not tempted to respond at the pace of an auto responder.
*Did you know Gmail has a “schedule” feature you can use to schedule emails? Write the email and schedule it to go out when you want. I've been using that feature a LOT so I can disconnect more!
4. Make your phone calls in batches and give them a time limit.
If you haven’t had to make a ton of client calls lately because of Covid-19, get ready…you will soon enough. So, when you do need to make those calls, schedule them back-to-back and get yourself in call mode.
Schedule time in your calendar to have them, say 12-2 pm and then 7-8 pm on weekdays. Limit your calls to 20 minutes tops and try to schedule calls around that time whenever possible.
5. Schedule 1 hour of social media time as a reward.
I hear people complain all the time they don't have time to work on their biz. Yet, I see these folks on social all the time.
Instead of wasting time looking at people who tell you how beautiful their lives are, spend this time doing something for your biz. Because let me tell you something…no one wants to see any more pictures of friends and family stuck at home. When you’ve kicked some ass by knocking off the items on your to-do list, then take your PJ selfies or doggie pics (or PJs and doggie pics) and post to your socials.
6. Unplug from work no later than 8 pm.
Charge your phone in another room, make out with your significant other, or read a book. You know, a real paperback book. Something you can hold in your hands.
Unplugging a few hours before bed has been proven to relax you and greatly improve your sleep. And when you sleep, you're less likely to be a spicy britch in the morning. This is what will give you the patience to deal with clients who test your patience by asking for discounts.
7. Work only on your computer, not your phone.
Get into the habit of working only on your laptop (or desktop) and NOT on your phone. There’s really no excuse not to do this when you’re confined to your home office…your computer is always RIGHT THERE.
If you haven’t already (and I’m guessing you probably have since it’s been more than two months now), create a work ritual for yourself. Let your phone be for texting and taking calls only. The more you disconnect from your phone, the more analog a life you'll live.
Do your emails, social posts, shopping, etc., all on your computer. You're more likely to be productive and break that addiction of having your phone as an umbilical cord. I won’t lie, it will hurt for a while because we all do it. But once you do it, you'll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!
8. Disconnect from tech on your days off.
Give yourself a real day off. Turn off your phone. Turn off social media. Turn off everything. Go spend time outside where you’re able to. Take a socially distanced walk at a park. If you have a pool, take a dip or lounge in the sun. Go for a jog in the neighborhood. Shit, take a book outside and read in the fresh air. Journal if you have ideas.
You need white space to clear your head and help you be a better artist. As creatives, THIS IS MANDATORY!
I've been somewhat analog for a couple of years now. Some seasons have been stronger than others, and these past couple months have been a challenge since there aren’t as many outlets or places to go to get away from the screen. But I’ve been trying REALLY hard to be way more thoughtful about how often and when to be connected than years past.
After reading this, are you feeling anxiety-ridden like I was? Here's what I've discovered since I really allowed myself to get off digital as much as I have…are you ready?
I can happily report that not only have I been WAY more productive, I have cut my anxiety in half and am almost completely off my anti-anxiety medication!
With all the negative shit happening in the news every single day, being online and digital really does add a TON of stress to your day, even if you don’t realize it. While I still stay informed on what’s going on around me (even though I don’t really want to most days), I’m finding myself so much less stressed by not being glued to my phone or other devices. That’s what is working for me.
Comment below and let me know if you're going to join me in the analog revolution! I'd love to hear!