When I managed an apartment community I frequently had the urge to check my email at nights and on weekends. I told myself that I was trying to reduce the shock on Monday morning of having 100 email messages waiting for me. So I’d steal myself away from my personal life for a few minutes and “log in.” Do you do this, too?
I thought I was helping myself-but in looking back I’m sure I was actually hurting things. Let me explain more…
A few months ago, I recently attended a men’s retreat in the moutains of Northern California. One of the basic principles of the retreat was the importance of unplugging from the outside world for a few days; so we were discouraged from using technology like cell phones, computers, and tablets and our rooms did not have a television or telephone.
Get off the Grid
At first I found myself in technology withdrawal! I wanted to keep checking my phone. It’s amazing just how addicted I have become to my smartphone. I mean, just the other day I realized that I was checking my phone while waiting in a line at McDonalds. (What was my wait, 15 seconds??)
On day two I decided to leave my phone in my room. As the day progressed I realized that the need to check my phone went away! I used the time I might have spent “on the grid” hiking, relaxing and just savoring the peace and tranquility of the moment.
At night I would head over to the campfire, looking to connect with the men I had met and/or to make some new friends. Even though I was physically tired at the end of the night, I found myself completely energized from meeting and having incredible conversations with men from all around the country. It was a great experience.
When I came back home I was pretty reluctant to plug back in, to be honest. It felt really freeing not to be checking my phone every five minutes. Unplugging meant I had time to think, reflect, refresh, renew, restore and connect with people and myself; which made me better equipped to handle all of the realities of daily life.
How Can You Unplug?
When you get the urge to call the community or pull up your work email for the millionth (and not necessary) time:
- Read a book
- Go for a walk/hike
- Spend more time with family
- Have a conversation with a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile
- Enjoy relaxing and being “still”
I know how time consuming your career can be…but it’s amazing how just a little time away from the grid can make such a big difference. Your community, your department, and/or your company, will be just fine if you don’t routinely check emails or consistently call to see “how things are going” over the weekend and you may feel just a little bit better come Monday morning.
Oh-and your people may appreciate not having your checking in during their times when they’re free from you. (You know it’s true.)
Rommel Anacan is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm in Orange County, California. He is a multifamily industry veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for tackling common challenges in an uncommon way. For more information please visit www.RelationshipDifference.com.