Are You Over-Connected?

Are You Over-Connected? 

by Cheyenne Palma Dominguez
President of FemCity®

Feeling overworked, overwhelmed, stressed out, and not as creative as you'd like in your business? Maybe you're over-connected. A few years ago I started what I call, Unplugged Sundays, as a result of an overdose on technology. I like to think of it as my weekly reboot.  It seems we're online in some form nearly 24/7. Technology helps us accomplish so much in our businesses and plays an incredible role in keeping us connected. But what happened to a day of rest? 

Unplugged Sunday has become my designated time when I have the pleasure of completely disconnecting from technology. My computer is shut down. My mobile phone is turned off. Friends and family have my home telephone number (the landline, as I say) in case they need to reach me. When I first began Unplugged Sunday I admittedly felt less pleasure and more anxiety. The horror of not checking email, text, and social media for an entire day! At first it simply made me feel like I was going to face an unbearable inbox on Monday morning. Not exactly my vision of relaxation. As a solution, I generally schedule Monday as my office day. Knowing I've set aside a block of time on Monday to address issues which may have developed during my "unplugged time" helps me to feel more at ease while I'm actually unplugged. 

Are you ready for a regular reboot? Sure, there are apps for that. There are apps to tell us how much time we spend online, how many times we check our email, how long we've been sitting at our computers, and how many steps we've taken. You don't need them to disconnect. Be brave. Be strong. Be bold. Turn your phone off (yes, actually turn it off). Look up and look around. Enjoy your thoughts without the assistance of a screen. 

 In full transparency, I don't have a perfect track record. I've had Sundays when I've completely forgotten to disconnect or peeked a little at my email. More than once, I've gone all in working on a project for most of my Sunday. But those are the exceptions. When I do successfully unplug for a full day, I can tell you I feel wonderful afterward - more focused, more energized, happier and lighter. I think of new ideas and find myself more willing to try new things. 

Ready to give it a try? Here are my tips to unplug, refresh and reboot successfully. 

  1. Let your family and closest friends know when you'll be unplugged.

  2. Set a designated time. I prefer one day per week (a full 24 hours). 

  3. Start small if it feels overwhelming. Begin with unplugging for a portion of the day and work your way toward the full day. 

  4. Expect it to be difficult at first. Remind yourself it's a pleasure to disconnect. 

  5. Need to keep in touch with specific family members, like your teenager? Try turning off all notifications on your mobile phone with the exception of phone calls from select individuals.

  6. Ask your family for support and invite them to join you.

  7. Keep a notepad and pen handy. You may find yourself feeling the need to Google questions you suddenly need answers to, order light bulbs on Amazon, or check to see if a check cleared your bank account. Write it all down and do it the next day. 

  8. Go outside. Spend some time with nature. 

  9. Distract yourself. Read a book or magazine (not on a device). Bake cookies, draw, color, exercise, play Scrabble, organize your closet. There's plenty to do! 

Like anything else, good habits take time to develop. I can't wait to hear about all the brilliant ideas you come up with during your reboot.