Anne Lamott: Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.
When was the last time you took a vacation and unplugged? Literally unplugged your devices and relied on the sky to tell you if it’s raining, or the front page of USA Today in the hotel lobby to give you the latest political news?
We’ve all sat around “on vacation” and listened to our cell phones chirp. Emails and texts come in and you feel compelled to answer them right away. And you can see how quickly connecting to the outside world shatters your calm. It’s easy to work more efficiently, even during time off. According to a 2014 TripAdvisor survey, 77 percent of Americans work while on vacation. (That’s three years ago; I imagine the number has risen since then.)
Increasingly, people are starting to feel the need to disconnect. In 2017, over 100,000 people participated in an event called National Day of Unplugging, sponsored by Reboot. Since 2010, the group has encouraged people to turn off digital devices on the first Sabbath in March, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. For more information and to sign up to receive a free cellphone sleeping bag, click here. National Day of Unplugging 2018
Vacation is a perfect time to start on balancing your relationship with digital devices. Leslie and I are leaving on vacation shortly, and I’m hoping to unplug for the next week. Here are some ways we’re going to do that:
Designate someone at home to contact in an emergency. Beth will be cat-sitting and she’ll be at our house watching football. (Beth claims that Clooney, Leslie’s cat, likes football. Whatever, my friend.)
Prepare and inform your employer that you’re not available to be in touch. We can start practicing with mini-unpluggings on weekends or evenings.
Anticipate the possible boredom and having to talk-to-one-another scenario. Bring board games and puzzles along with you and be aware that your phones are on vacation too!
Be reasonable and agree to check-in online maybe once or twice a day.
These preparations should allow us to return from vacation more relaxed. And to return to dozens and dozens of emails.