Switch off for a real break

These days, most of us are ‘switched on’ most of the time, and that’s not great… for our health or our productivity. So let’s take a well-earned break this festive season – from all the addictive technology that makes our jobs easier, but can rule our lives 24/7/365. Here’s the challenge:

  • Resist the urge to religiously check your emails. It’s a good idea to set up an auto-responder so people will know they’re not going to hear from you straight away. If you really must check emails, schedule a time once a weekday and only respond to the urgent ones.
  • Take a sunset to sunset break from your mobile phone. Pick the easiest day when you’re least likely to have urgent calls coming in (although, with my kids, everything is urgent!) and turn your mobile phone off. Really off. Not even on silent or vibrate.
  • Give yourself permission to get some headspace, with entire days of work-free thoughts.
  • Wrestle the FOMO beast to the ground and have designated social media blackout days – that’s FOMO for ‘fear of missing out’. You won’t, because you’ll be too busy having a life.
  • Avoid the vegetative state in front of the television. It’s all re-runs or death, doom and disaster anyway.
  • Focus on getting out and getting active. If you can’t get away, explore your city or town like a tourist. Try something you’ve never tried before. After all, life begins at the edge of your comfort zone…

Are the excuses bubbling up in your head? I’m too busy, I have too much on, I want to use this time to catch up on everything, my kids might need me urgently, I can’t…

The truth is, when we die, our inbox will still be full. Isn’t it time to take these few days to switch off and really live?

If this challenge makes you break out in a cold sweat, start small and build up to it, just like you would if you were learning to run. Apparently it takes two weeks to form a habit. So practice switching off this silly season, and you may just be taking some great habits into 2012…

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