Unplugged

Speaking of my traveling (see last post), some people ask why, especially since I travel usually by train, I don’t equip my iBook to get internet via a cell network or carry a Blackberry or the like. I do this deliberately–when I travel, I use part of the time to write/work offline and part of the time for quiet meditation, reading, or simply conversing with other passengers (especially in the dining car). I unplug, most literally.

There’s a lot of stress in traveling to seven cities, giving presentations, meeting with clients and colleagues, etc., while also keeping up with things like podcasts and blogs and all my other work. And while it’s mostly good stress, it is still important to have times to come down from those stresses. My unplugging on the trains give me just that time.

That way, by the time I speak in Boston (last stop), I will still be as fresh and enthusiastic about the presentation as I will be in Austin (first stop). I will be able to give the Boston clients I meet for one-on-one consultations the best of my thoughts, not just those last floating bits of fried consciousness left at the end of a long journey.

When was the last time you unplugged? Did you know that it may help you to increase your productivity and may almost certainly help your bottom line? Check out this article about companies who are instituting “no email Fridays.” And more and more stories are hitting the presses about how taking time off is better for you and your business than you probably think.

If you feel you couldn’t possibly do it, try this as a baby-step: set your email to check every 60 minutes (or even longer). Here’s another baby-step: turn your cell phone and/or biz phone off for an hour every day…during working hours. See how productive you are without that distraction (note: clients won’t drop you because you had to return their call). Last baby-step: disconnect from the internet entirely for an hour a day–no google, no news, nada, rien, nothing. Spend that hour reading a business book or thinking up self-assignments or doing anything productive you want.

If you want to get the most benefit, do all three at once.

Oh, and take a train next time you need to travel. You can relax, unplug, and it’s a bit more eco-friendly too.

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