I’ve Found Ways to Productively Unplug

I’ll tell you a few.

A couple months back, I wrote a piece about my reverting to working every single day of the week. Not figuratively, I meant literally. People who read that article gave me some really good advice and even suggested some possible books to read. I was grateful. Still am.

I’m doing better now, but have to constantly remind myself that it’s OK to chill out a bit. I’m getting better at forgiving myself for watching Drink Champs on YouTube for two hours. There’s a lot to be done, but I’m doing it.

With that said, I’ve tried to implement some real tactics in my life that would help me to unplug while still feeling productive. These are small things that I actually do, not just some blue sky list of aspirational endeavours. Here we go:

  1. Open your window — Doesn’t matter what time of day it is. Sit or stand near a window and just listen. It sounds a bit strange, but do it. As a writer, so much of my inspiration comes from being connected to my environment. This is one way of deepening that connection.
  2. Eat slowly — When you’re for real busy and overwhelmed with your work, eating becomes a footnote. But I’ve realized that when I order something I really want, sit down by myself or with a few friends, and take my time between each bite, then I’m much more focused when that break is over. I’m not thinking of all the work that’s waiting for me, I’m just enjoying a meal and some fun, joyful conversation, or I’m getting lost thinking about nothing in particular.
  3. Breathe — There have been times when I’ve over-worked myself to the point where my mind just stops working. I can’t think or make sense of anything on my screen. Before getting to that point, I suggest you take two minutes, literally, and just breathe. For some reason, deep breaths slows everything down and inserts a calmness into the moment.
  4. Don’t Take a Sh*t With Your Phone — This is my polite way of saying that you need clear boundaries when it comes to using your mobile devices. I don’t know the science behind it, but you just don’t think the same when that smartphone is on your person. Your entire mind is focused on it, whether consciously or not, and when you leave it in a different room, some magical spell is broken. Try it.

In all honesty, I do these things about 70% of the time so I’m far from where I want to be. My goal is to get closer to 90–95%, but even doing these things as much as I am right now is helping me to be present while freeing my mind enough to be productive.

If you guys have tried anything similar, let me know. If you have any other tips, send them my way as well. I want to keep learning and keep pushing myself to find the right formula to be my best.