Going off the grid: The Power of Being Unplugged

Over the holidays I took some time away from work. I did not do anything particularly spectacular – no cruise, no trip to Europe, no visit to Broadway – but I did take a mental trip to the place that lies “off the grid.”

As a coach, I frequently tout the benefits of taking time away from technology and really allowing ourselves the freedom of being unplugged. I also fully recognize the difficulty in actually making this happen, so when I say I took a trip off the grid, I really mean it. In order to spend time unplugged, I found that I first had to take myself to a very different place from which I could mentally allow myself time off the grid.

I had to very intentionally change my mindset around technology. For me, and for many of us, checking email, carrying a cell phone around 24/7, and always being connected is a way of life. It is our default; our habit. So, to really unplug means breaking a habit and consciously choosing not to check email, not to answer calls and to step away from technology.

This may cause you to think “If it’s so difficult to do it, why even go to the effort of getting unplugged? After all, how harmful could it be to answer a few emails each day while on vacation?” Well, the benefits are tremendous.

After spending just a few days unplugged, my energy levels were higher. I also found that I was able to more fully engage in other, non-technology activities such as deep conversations, long walks, and pleasure reading. I felt the luxury of uninterrupted time with the freedom to focus fully on only one thing.

I reaped benefits not just in the moment, but later. When I returned to work after the holidays, I felt rejuvenated in a way that I otherwise would not have. My energy was higher, my head was clearer and my focus was sharper. Who wouldn’t want all of that?