It’s a hyper-connected world. Reality is the majority of us are tethered to technology more often than not – not just socially, but for work too. Public relations is a service business; we’re always accessible, cell phone or email, most hours of the day and night. Let’s just say we are hyper-hyper-connected.
This is life, and I accept – and expect – it. But I’ve also learned, regardless of your life or career decisions, it’s essential to disconnect, completely, every once in a while. This is why I recently took off to the Adirondack Mountains where I had no choice but put down my phone; there is no cell service or WiFi for miles. And I loved every (quiet) minute.
It’s not my first time totally disconnecting; I did the same during a mission trip to El Salvador in college. The only time I used my cell phone was for an alarm clock. No phone calls in or out. It’s a strange feeling, one that gives most of us anxiety, but I’ve never felt so relaxed. Ever. I was still hyper-connected – but to myself and my surroundings rather than my phone or Facebook. I fully focused on the present.
I think we can all agree that in the world of public relations, it’s hard to completely disconnect often. But it’s doable – and it shouldn’t always take a trip to a remote location to force your hand. A colleague here at Stern stresses the importance of leaving work at work and is keen to remind me that not everything will get done in a single day.
Turn off your email notifications in the evenings. Put your phone away during dinner. Take an uninterrupted hour to watch TV or read a book. If your job makes it hard to do this Monday through Friday, at least make a point to ban your cell phone for part of the weekend. Not only do you get time to do what you want without interruption, you come back to work more ready than ever to tackle the day. I strongly believe we do our best job when we feel like our best selves.
Next time you pack up for the day or head home for the weekend, think about what you can leave for tomorrow and take some time to just be present. You’ll thank me later!