How To Unplug When Your Job Is To Be Always “On”

1 By Crystal Richard

Unplugging.

A destination that so many of us professionals want to reach, but never quite seem to. We all say we’re going to do it, but how many of us actually do it? I’d argue, very few.

To unplug, one must not simply ignore their phone. Our phones never did anything to us — why should we give them the cold shoulder? That said, it is important that we detach ourselves from the applications on our phone that control us: email apps, work messengers, Google alerts.

Yes, those are the real culprits stopping you from enjoying your evenings, your weekends, and even your vacations. Not Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.

So how can you ignore the pull of your job and really, truly unwind? Here are three of my best tips!

2

Submerge Yourself In Relaxation: Literally

One of my favorite ways to unwind is to take a hot bubble bath and read in the tub. My reasoning goes far beyond the therapeutic advantages. It’s the one spot in my home where the computer simply can’t join me, for obvious reasons.

Next, I use this time to charge my phone away from the tub, preferably in another room. It may sound silly, but being submerged in water (which we know doesn’t play nice with technology) is a great way to truly unplug. If you’re lucky enough to have your own pool or access to a beach — a long swim will do the trick just as nicely.

Set Proper Expectations with Clients

Making sure that my clients are happy is how I start and end my day, so naturally, if I see emails come in from them on evenings or weekends, I instinctively want to reply on the spot. That’s just great customer service, right? Well, yes and no.

If it’s an urgent matter and you’re able to reply: do it. Especially if being connected is part of your job. One of my biggest media placements happened as a result of me taking a phone call in the tub. Yes, I do break even my own rules. But for all other, non-urgent matters, it can wait. If you get in the habit of replying to every client’s email whenever they come in, no matter the time of day, you’re conditioning them. They’ll know that no matter what, you’ll reply on a Friday night (clients over Netflix, right?) or while you’re on holiday.

Most clients don’t want to work with overworked and overtired professionals. Seeing and knowing that you’ve got your work-life balance in order is important and just because they are burning the midnight oil, doesn’t mean they expect you to as well. So next time that late night email lands in your inbox, don’t click! It’ll still be there in the morning!

3

Get Flexible Or Work On Your Fitness

Working in a PR agency, I’m surrounded by fellow workaholics. We’re guilty of failing to take a lunch break, coming in to the office way too early and leaving way too late. In order to detach ourselves from our desks, we decided to take in a power yoga class three days a week at lunch. Because technology is a big no-no at yoga (and most fitness classes) we had no excuse but to unwind, clear our heads, and find some zen for an hour. Another perk? Our bodies were benefiting too!

I can’t stress how important exercise is for busy professionals, but it’s one of the easiest things to let slide. I am totally guilty of skipping a run to keep working or tackle my inbox. So how do you make it stick? Start by setting an exercise schedule, like yoga at lunch or running before the office. By doing this, you’re creating a routine and making it easier to succeed. You’re also giving yourself daily, scheduled time away from your phone, which as we’ve established is important.

So next time you’re feeling the weight of the world (and your workload) on your shoulders, remind yourself that it’s important to take a break from technology. I promise, the world won’t end if you ignore your phone for an hour.

Do you struggle to find work-life balance? What are your best tips for unplugging?

Crystal Richard
A natural born storyteller and people person, it should come as no surprise that Crystal found herself in the exciting world of public relations. As Director of PR at Onboardly Media, Crystal has helped her clients appear in industry publications such as Forbes, Inc., the Huffington Post and more. A proud fangirl and nautical lifestyle enthusiast, Crystal writes about pop culture, East Coast life and books over on her own blog at CrystalRichard.com. She is rarely caught without her iphone in one hand and a Starbucks latte in the other.

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8 thoughts on “How To Unplug When Your Job Is To Be Always “On”

  1. Renee

    Hey Crystal,
    I am sure you know all about it, but I take extended offline retreats with my man. No phone. No laptop. No iPad. No TV. It’s a time to reconnect as a couple and read a book. There is something about being completely with yourself that is so liberating.
    🙂

    Reply
    1. Kristen Collier

      So true, Renee!
      I devoted myself to developing a deeper spiritual life about 7 months ago, and found that the more time I took for myself, to think, pray, fast, the less I was able to watch TV, it wore me out, the noise. I still have to go in the other room if my hubby has the TV on a lot, because now it just grates on me, so I def need quiet more, but it’s a great thing, because I have so much more peace. Turning the TV and cell off is SO helpful for stressed moms!
      Kristen

      Reply
  2. Dan Taylor

    Great advice, Crystal. I needed this. I could barely follow the plot of Scooby Doo last night for poking at my iPad.

    Reply
  3. Glen Munro

    While I don’t do the bath thing, I do find reading fiction is when I know I am relaxing.
    I have stacks of business books and industry books that I whittle through, but sitting in my hammock reading the Hunger Games trilogy is when I know I am relaxing… work is not in the picture.

    Reply
  4. Kristen Collier

    Crystal,
    I completely agree about the conditioning, that you condition your clients to expect an immediate response. Great point. Seven months ago, I devoted myself to focusing on a deeper life. I actually learned about spiritual fasting, which has been such an amazing experience, and something you can even do while working, without getting dizzy or feeling weak. One thing I found was that I was actually more clear-headed, so fasting is a great thing to do when you have an important decision, or meeting, etc. And, most important, it’s really relaxing, so is GREAT for stressed moms. You really start to relax when the toxins leave your body, and I was able to give up sugar, my worst habit, for 2.5 months. It was life-changing, and my husband said I’m like a new woman, because I’ve calmed down so much. Now, I can eat sugar naturally, not as a stress mechanism, so it doesn’t make me crazy like before. I never would have known how sugar affected me, making me anxious and depressed, if not for fasting. So, I highly recommend spiritual fasts for all stressed woman who need a real change in their lives.
    Kristen Collier

    Reply