Consciously Unplugged

I spent the recent Christmas / New Year holiday completely switched off. I was in Tinopai. Tinopai is a tiny coastal rural town in the Kaipara Harbour of New Zealand. This is where my parents have their bach (Kiwi speak for holiday home). Theirs is a late 1800’s two storey former miner’s cottage that was shipped onto the current site sometime in the 1930’s. Whilst it’s been almost entirely rebuilt since then, albeit in keeping with its original character & charm there are little to no mod cons. No dish washer, no sky TV, no phone line, no wifi and better still the area has no cellphone reception for NZ’s largest cell network.

This is how I unplugged – it was enforced! And there are two major things I learnt from it:

  • It’s amazing how fast you get used to your phone not being an extension of you and how quickly you realise you can do without it
  • Without the constant interruptions and general noise in most peoples everyday lives it’s amazing how much clarity of thought you can achieve

Along with the first came the fear that I would miss out on something. I wasn’t sure what, but I was terrified of it anyway. Again, this passed quickly thankfully and now that I’m back online I wonder why I ever worried about it in the first place.

The second came with some much more profound revelations. Last year was probably one of my biggest yet from a work perspective. I was somewhat dismayed to finish the year with some unresolved issues and loose ends at work. But what the time out has given me is perspective; a new view of a clear path forward and a solid resolution to these situations which are now underway.

Now I’m all for starting your day with planning and thinking time and much has been written on the virtues of both, as I believe it gives perspective, clarity and priority to your day and . But to get an overall perspective of a larger work issue, project or plan I absolutely advocate a spot of conscious unplugging. I’m not suggesting you all find remote areas to get away from it all, for long periods of time, though it certainly helps when all you have to do is wonder whether you’ll swim, kayak or similar that day! But rather plan times to switch everything off and do something you love – read, walk, take the kids to the park; find your version of Tinopai.

I plan on 2015 being my best year yet in every possible way, and whilst a large amount of that will no doubt be spent communicating in a work fashion, online, and hooked up to social media, all things I love, enjoy and thrive on; I will equally be ensuring there are times where I consciously unplug to allow my mind time to rest and revitalise.