“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.” – Anne Lamott, novelist
When was the last time you unplugged from work? Really unplugged—no emails, phone calls, or texts? Perhaps the real question should be: Have you ever unplugged from work?
Unfortunately, many of us think that if we just work more hours, work harder, and work longer, that we will be more successful. But many studies, including one from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, show that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve focus and productivity.
Experiment for yourself. Start small. The Pomodoro approach encourages you to take 5 minute breaks every 25 minutes, and over time, practice unplugging for longer times. See how much more clearly you feel after a break. Are solutions clearer? Have you found an easier way to do things? Give your brain the space it needs, in order to get to the success you want.
- Commit to unplugging. Whether you do it for 15 minutes a day, 1 day a month, an extended vacation, or all of the above—make a commitment to schedule “unplugged” time (no emails, phone calls, or thinking about work) for the next 90 days. Spend this time in relaxing ways.
- Take a fresh look. After your unplugged time, spend a few minutes considering what you are doing, how you are doing it, and what you want. Brainstorm some new ideas on how you might do things more easily, better, or faster; and make a list of the ideas you want to try.
- Direct revitalized energy. Bring your clear mind and fresh ideas to the table to ramp up your career and success. Watch how scheduled, frequent unplugging can actually help you stay more focused and get you ahead faster.