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It’s What I Didn’t Do

| | Inspiration | 5 Comments
It’s What I Didn’t Do post image

Running a virtual business requires a high degree of connectivity. My clients are virtual; most of my team are virtual. To serve them well, I must stay connected via email and social media channels. I am nearly always tethered to my iPhone.

That my company is a social media one compounds the issue. If I’m going to preach the importance of showing up on social media channels (and believe me, I do), then I have to show up. Toward the end of the day Friday, I had had enough. I turned off my cell phone, people. Powered it off. I closed my laptop and closed my office door.

I can tell you about what I did this weekend, but it’s what I didn’t do that is more significant. I didn’t look at email — not once. I didn’t sneak a peek at Facebook or scroll through tweets. I DID NOT DO IT.

I did power my cell phone back on sometime Saturday morning, mostly because I wanted to contact friends about fun activities we might enjoy together. I may have answered a random text or two from my team. But I did not look at email or social channels; not for a moment.

While sitting at the hair salon on Saturday, hands idle in my lap, it occurred to me how I’ve spent every other appointment mindlessly checking email and scrolling Facebook, which seems kind of silly now. Leaving my phone in my purse – it was wonderful.

I loved my unplugged weekend so much, I might make it a monthly event. Because I took off an entire weekend and nothing catastrophic happened, I have hope that there may be a real vacation in my future (not a working one.)  

I loved it so much, I found myself dreaming about reverting to a flip phone. Because admit it — I’m not the only one who’s contemplated chucking my iPhone in a sewer or tossing it into a lake. Am I?

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About The Author

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

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Jane   |   18 November 2013   |   Reply

That’s great news and excellent training for a real vacation. I have never vacationed well. Always thought of work related things to do, rationalizing that vacation meant I could do whatever I felt like doing – and that included work. Due to circumstances last month I had no work to distract me, nothing to do that had requirements built into a commitment. I used social media a LOT but as communication with friends and family to document the best vacation I have ever taken.

I hope one day you get to take a real vacation. I know now that I missed family time during vacations that could have been fun memories.

Shane Hammons   |   19 November 2013   |   Reply

Ah, to be plugged or not to be plugged in. Work/life balance is something I’ve coached my team about but admittedly struggle with myself. Social media aside, just being connected to my work laptop is excessive. I tell myself it’s okay because of my flexible schedule but deep down I’m burning out. This blog has me thinking it’s time for some Shane time!

Debbie Williams   |   19 November 2013   |   Reply

Good for you! I encourage my clients to screen calls and limit interruptions, but during a big project, I find myself ignoring my own advice and working way too hard. It took a short brainstorming session with my son (a budding young entrepreneur) to challenge me to change my own office hours.

My son’s goal in life is to only work two hours a day while making a modest living. Wow, what a great goal to have! I took his challenge and he’s holding me accountable to my new office hours. And I no longer work on the weekends at all. If I need to check personal email, I do it on my handheld device since it’s hard to type much on those tiny keys. Keeps me honest!

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. What an encourager you are!

John Marcello   |   21 November 2013   |   Reply

Precisely why I have never wanted an iPhone. The temptation is too great. I do carry a “smart” phone but try not to use it for business.

Even though I tend to work a lot on weekends – because one, well I am kind of boring and not up to anything all that exciting and two because I really like what I do for a living – I consciously try to minimize communication during those two important “rest” days.

Ironically, the weekend (when I don’t have something planned with the family) tends to be the time when I can get caught up on all my projects. As the week goes by, excess communication seems to sometimes drag on productivity.

So I encourage everyone to ask themselves in the workplace the next time they feel the need to contact a team mate: Does this really require an email/phone call/text message? Do I really need to “CC” so and so person on this or that?

I am aware that good communication if necessary for a team to function, however good in my eyes is defined by necessary and efficient.

If we all took a moment to consider what our tendency to over communicate does we might all get more done during the week. Having our cell phone off all weekend should be the norm and not a luxury.

I would be interested to know, what do other people do to make communication more efficient?

David Crowley   |   17 December 2013   |   Reply

I agree, turning off the devices can very refreshing! We typically observe Sunday as a mostly offline day. Definitely need some practices like that–I recently wrote about “Finding Our Own Walden”…on that topic.