We took our family vacation a little earlier this summer because here in the Midwest most of the kids go back to school in mid-August. It always feels weird when my New York-based company gives us “summer Friday” bonus holidays in late August because not only does it feel like summer is already over for me, but it’s also smack in the middle of CEDIA prep time. Nonetheless, I know that whenever I’m able to get a little R&R, I should take it, even if I’m never too far away from my e-mail.
This year we returned to Michigan, a nearby vacation destination that appeals to our family because it requires neither extensive time in the car nor expensive airline tickets. We began the week on Mackinac, an island where the only modes of travel are walking, bike riding, horseback riding, or horse-drawn carriages. It’s a bit of a time warp, with Victorian-style Main Street stores and the elegant Grand Hotel that requires those who are not hotel guests to pay a $10 per person just to enter the lobby to gawk at the architecture. But it wasn’t like we were in the middle of nowhere, either, as our phones and iPads were almost always within reach.
Like you, my thoughts are consumed by the latest developments in technology every day, and it’s really hard to completely turn it off. Tech innovations are essential to our livelihoods and allow us to stay connected to the work that we do and to news of that very same technology. Yet, I often wish that I could completely break away from it all, if for only for a few days. I can’t even remember what it’s like to be away for my phone for more than a couple of hours.
Just about the only time I can really take a break from my phone is when I’m swimming in the neighborhood pool or sitting on a beach at Lake Michigan, where I don’t want my precious phone to get damaged. Though ever so brief, going “deviceless” is a therapeutic experience, even as I fight FOMO (fear of missing out), worry that some problem is going unresolved at work, or worse yet, allow myself to get bored!
I know that most of you have it even worse than I do when it comes to disconnecting from devices, especially if you own your business and still serve as the chief bottle washer for your company. And, as more and more clients gain access to your mobile number, they can text or call you with questions or concerns at any time of day.
I know it’s asking a lot, but I hope that you’re able to take a little time for yourself this summer, breaking away from your devices and the day-to-day grind of work. It’s good for you, your family, and even your employees and coworkers to have that space. Turning off your devices might even lead to the next great idea for your company. Just make sure you have a piece of paper and pen, so you can write it down.