The internet is fun, but it’s also a trap.
If you’re anything like me, you find yourself spending more and more time checking social media.
Every time you open a new web browser, you type the letter “F” automatically. And each new “heart” that pops up on your Instagram feed, you get a dopamine rush.
We’re so freaking connected to our smartphones now. With things like Snapchat and the new Instagram Stories, it really does feel like everything is game to be documented and shared.
Do you feel like you can never turn off?
As entrepreneurs, we have a really good excuse for being on social media 24/7, but I honestly believe this is detrimental to our mental health.
Couple our social media obsession with our entrepreneurial workaholic tendency and you get a dangerous lifestyle of living on the internet and not in real life. Ew!
I genuinely feel sick to my stomach and want to cry just thinking about it. Tears have actually swelled in my eyes as I write this. That’s how fed up I am.
Now more than ever you and I need to establish a habit of disconnecting before it gets worse (because it will).
I understand that your plate is full and money is tight.
You might not be able to take a fabulous vacation.
You might not be able to take any vacation at all.
It doesn’t matter.
In today’s blog, I’m sharing my 4 personal strategies for disconnecting and taking a break even when I’m drowning in work.
The four strategies that follow are my go-to boundaries for making sure that I get enough “Courtney” time to feel creatively energized and produce my very best work.
Here we go:
GET OFF THE INTERNET RULE #1 – Schedule vacations in advance and protect them like your first-born child.
This is one thing that I’m normally good at. I know that if I don’t schedule my vacations well in advance (like, before I even know where I’ll be going), they won’t happen.
Ever since I started using the 12-week system, I like to take a week off at the end of every quarter. Sometimes I use this as a planning and rest period. Other times I actually go on a trip. I always get a haircut and try to pamper myself. The point is that no regular work can happen during this week.
When is your next week-long vacation?
Think you can’t take one? I’m not buying it. Taking time off is one of the best ways to hit the reset button and refresh your creative muscle. You’ll be a better business owner for it.
GET OFF THE INTERNET RULE #2 – Do a 24-48 hour digital detox.
Two years ago I had virtually zero problem turning off my phone for an entire week.
These days, it takes every ounce of willpower in me to turn it off for a weekend. That’s disgusting.
Honestly, I haven’t been as good about taking digital detoxes as I’d like, but I’m always happy when I do.
Here’s how to do a digital detox:
- Decide in advance when you’ll be disconnecting (weekends are best)
- Brainstorm any emergencies that could come up during that time so that you can handle them in advance (for example, you might want to tell your team or your mom you’re not available or set up an autoresponder).
- Set the boundaries. No smartphone? No computer? No TV? You get to decide what works for you. I often delete all the social media apps on my phone so that I can receive calls.
GET OFF THE INTERNET RULE #3 – Constrict your work week.
One of my favorite ways to amp up my productivity and miraculously find more free time is to set strict boundaries on when I can work.
For example, in The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss asks readers to consider how you would spend your work week if it were way less than 40 hours.
“Since we have 8 hours to fill, we fill 8 hours. If we had 15, we would fill 15. If we have an emergency and need to suddenly leave work in 2 hours but have pending deadlines, we miraculously complete those assignments in 2 hours.”
— Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek
I’ve got some specific questions to help you get more work done in less time in this week’s action sheet:
When you constrict the time allotted for work, you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you are during the time that you do work.
Recently, my mastermind group challenged me to try working only 3 days per week. I plan on doing this for the next month or so. We’ll see how it goes!
GET OFF THE INTERNET RULE #4 – Restructure your day.
Do you sit at the computer most of the day? Me too.
But why? Why do we think that we need to be sitting in an office (even if it’s at home) in order to feel like we’ve been working?
What if you only sat down at the computer when you had a specific task to accomplish?
What if, once you finished that task, you got up and went for a walk?
What if, like Richard Branson, you exercised four times per day?
As I prepare for my upcoming vacation, I’ve been experimenting with moving more throughout the day. I made a makeshift standing desk while working on a client project, go for errands when I need fresh air, etc. Because I live in a city, it’s easy for me to “run an errand” by walking. If the weather is bad, why not have a dance party? Or you could spend 10 minutes tidying up your space? Or do some yoga?
I want to cry with joy just thinking about the possibilities here. I love the idea that we can add more movement into our days instead of doing extreme bouts of sitting followed by intense exercise.
If you feel like you need more structure over your day, make sure to download today’s action sheet. I’ll walk you through the steps of setting up a schedule that fuels you!