• Andrew Wien

3 tips that might help you unplug

Someone in a mindfulness and emotional intelligence program of mine recently texted this question:

“Do you have any tips on how to unplug effectively?”

Some folks might find this question out of context— what does this have to do with mindfulness and emotional intelligence? Mindfulness will increase your awareness so you more clearly see what is actually happening in your life. With increased awareness, you might want to make some changes.

There are three things that prevent me from unplugging:

  1. I accidentally check email and then get pulled into a task or thought loop. So I make sure that if I accidentally check email, nothing is in my inbox. I use Boomerang to pause my inbox and have permanently turned off email notifications (well, and most other notifications) on my phone

  2. If I must go back to work that night, I'm very distracted if I don't know exactly what I need to go back to do and how long it will take. So before breaking, I plan out my late evening or the next day so those thoughts don't bother me during the break.

  3. If I have a lot of stuff to do, it all must be recorded somewhere. Otherwise, it keeps rattling around in my head. I use a "single source of truth" to do list. Everything I have to do is on that list. And if I think of something new during my off hours, I send myself a quick email or put something in my calendar so that when I am back at work, I'll put it on the list. (I don't open up the list and put it on... that would bring me right back into work)

I came up with this list by following this two step process, which works for about anything:

  • Ask yourself "what is preventing me from unplugging?" This may take a week or two to figure out. Just keep your guard up and observe your life like a curious third person observer. Notice the moments when you get sucked back into work or when you have distracting thoughts about work.

  • Once you have a list, design and implement habits around preventing those actions from happening.

What prevents you from unplugging, and how do you mitigate against it?

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