It was at a recent Dave Chappelle concert when it dawned on me the importance of disconnecting from the world. In between the profanities and lewd, vulgar, yet funny content, I found myself socializing and engaging with those around me more than usual. Was it because we shared a common emotion of laughter? Or the increased consumption of alcohol? NOPE! It was mostly due to the privacy and security precautions the venue took as part of the concert experience. (Really?!)
Before entering, each patron was asked to “lock” their phones in a sack, making them inaccessible until after the show. Part of this was to avoid anyone sharing the contents of the event. The other, which was not as overt, was to bring us back to a simpler time — a time when engaging and socializing with a human being was all we knew. A time when our eyes and ears were glued to a live event or conversation, rather than a screen in the palm of our hands. (Ahhh, the good old days!)
While some may think “down time” should be time spent being productive — I beg to differ. It should be time used to reconnect and recharge. I personally love when I am taking a flight somewhere and have to go into airplane mode. I am disconnected, and able to put my mind at ease for those few hours. I look at it as a reboot — an escape from the flood of information and content that invades my headspace almost every waking moment of the day.
Our brains already consume way too much information (11million bits per second to be accurate), and are more than likely overwhelmed and exhausted. Imagine a hamster on a wheel, at some point it’s little legs get tired and has to get off. Now imagine that hamster never getting off… that’s our brains. So it’s important to find ways to disconnect. If that means taking a walk outside, while leaving your phone at your desk, or just going into silent mode for a bit, I highly recommend it. You’ll find yourself and mind refreshed, making you a more productive and sharper you.
So let’s see if you can integrate this into your everyday. Try allotting 15min to your schedule for that walk, or going into silent mode (label it “Unavailable” on your shared calendars). See if you can make it a routine, and let us know how it’s working for you. I know from our side, it helps everyone here think clearer, which results in bigger ideas, better creative, and happier clients.