Understanding the Power of Disconnecting

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Look around your space right now and observe how many ways you’re connected in this very moment. Free from judgement, simply take notice. As I sit here I have two laptops, an iPhone and a work phone. This is a picture of real life, where it’s encouraged to be constantly connected, and in as many ways as possible.

Have you ever found yourself longing for the days when it was possible to be less connected? As a kid who grew up in the 80’s , I’ll confess I didn’t have my first cell phone until I was a freshman in college, and there are days when I wish I could go back to that simpler time. But then I’m also confronted with the nagging question, “I want to turn it all off, but how would I ever get everything done?” This question is where I want to dig in.

I’m going to challenge the notion that constantly being connected to our devices is the key to productivity. Instead, if we give ourselves doses of time away and freedom to foster creativity, we can be both more mindful and present to the world that surrounds us. Read on to learn the top 5 benefits of disconnecting, as well as simple action steps you can put into place today.

Top 5 Benefits of Disconnecting:

Habits are hard to change, especially when it comes to technology. We’re surrounded by it everywhere and it’s common knowledge that our devices are created to be addictive. I truly believe education is the key to creating change, so let’s start out by chatting about the benefits of a disconnecting from technology. If turning off your device makes you queasy, I hope this outstanding list of benefits helps you focus on the good that comes from powering down.

  • Be present to the world around you

    • Disconnecting allows you time & energy to enjoy the very moment you’re in. With this extra time you can focus on getting together with friends & family, move your body and explore areas of interest. The real world awaits outside of your screen.

  • Reduces stress and allows your body to recharge

    • Our bodies need time to decompress, and the idea of being constantly connected will only lead to burnout. Burnout is the opposite of what you’re working hard for, so give yourself time & space to disconnect after a long work day.

  • Improves Sleep

    • The constant stimulation and blue light from our screens revs up our brains and doesn’t allow for winding down; therefore quality of sleep is compromised by never wanting to miss a message.

  • Lessens feelings of comparison

    • Jealousy, envy and general fear of missing out is all fostered in a connected world. Stepping back to be present in real life is valuable to combat the feelings of FOMO.

  • Increases self-reflection

    • Without time to focus inward how do we discover what’s truly important to us? Giving ourselves time and space to let our minds wonder is a powerful gift.

Simple Steps to Disconnect:

Now that you understand the amazing benefits that can come with disconnecting, you may be wondering how to do this in real life. It sounds like a great idea in theory, but tough to put into play in our daily lives, right? Let me help you out by giving you my favorite simple steps to disconnect, all of which cost absolutely no money and can be done starting this very moment.

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  • Consider tracking your screen time: As addictive as our devices are, the creators are also adding in technology to help us be more mindful of our screen time. Most devices have tools built into them to help track screen time and bring awareness to our consumption. It can be hard to see, if you think you’re on your phone for an hour a day and you see it’s 4 times that much. Go easy on yourself and know this isn’t a negative reflection of you, it’s simply a built-in monitor, if you’d like to use it less.

  • Start with micro-goals: I’m a huge believer in creating goals so tiny you literally cannot fail. If you want to cut your screen time by 5 minutes each day go for it - that is change! If you want a place to start I recommend taking into account your core values. Consider what’s most important to you, and form goals with this in mind. Here’s a real life example in our house. Enjoying dinner as a family is very important in our house, and part of sitting down together means that there are no devices are allowed at the table. We leave them in another room, and if one sneaks onto the table my kids will for sure call you out!

  • Let go of judgement: Judging yourself and beating yourself up for the amount of time you’re either connected or disconnected isn’t going to serve you. It’s easier said than done, to free yourself of judgement, but the more you can keep this in mind, the more it will become reality. Strive to do the best you can, constantly forgive yourself and change will come.

  • Let go of comparison: What works for others may not work at all for you, and that’s perfectly fine. Experiment, be open to trying new things, and assess whether it’s a good fit. Know that they won’t all be right for you, but it’s only thru trial and experimentation that you can find the options that are a good fit.

Now that you understand the incredible power and benefits of disconnecting, I hope you’ll join me in trying the simple steps to make it doable in your busy real-life. I’m all for encouragement and accountability, so I’d love if you share which of the simple action steps you want to try out in the comments below. I’ll write back providing encouragement for your journey!