Why ‘unplugging’ should be Your New Year’s resolution

Leslie Grossman, Vistage Chair to CEOs and author of Link Out: How to Turn Your Network into a Chair of Lasting Connections, blogged recently about the need to restore balance and get off the digital treadmill.

Leslie GrossmanHere’s her wise words – reprinted with her permission.

Isn’t it ironic? With an estimate of 500 million tweets/day, Twitter says that among the top 10 New Year’s resolutions tweeted by their users, ‘Unplug’ is the 5th most popular.   As expected, ‘work out’ and ‘lose weight’ are number 1 and 3. ‘Be happy’ and ‘stop smoking’ are number 2 and 4. For the first time, ‘unplug’ has made the top ten.

According to Social Times a study in 2014 found that ½ of all Americans NEVER unplug. It’s heartening to know that more people who are on social media regularly are becoming aware of the value of unplugging. Besides the popularity of ‘unplug’ as a resolution, another sign is the increasing number of meditation and warning apps. I personally use a meditation app called HeadSpace that offers guided meditations of from 10 – 20 minutes. Breakfree is an app that warns you when you have been on your device beyond your set limit.

Some of you may not be able to fathom why unplugging is important, since you probably believe that being responsive immediately is required for your job and  your friends and family. I am old enough to remember when a wired telephone and a fax were the only technologies available to communicate. I even remember the pink “While You Were Out” message pads before voicemail existed. Somehow waiting 24 hours for a callback seemed perfectly acceptable. Anyway, here are the top 5 reasons why you should add ‘unplug’ to your new year’s resolution list:

  • Solitude – that’s quiet – gives us time to think – a necessary tool for making good decisions for our career and our life.
  • Life is all around us – and it’s fascinating. If we are always connected, we miss beauty, live human experiences, joy, and laughter
  • Trust is built through face-to-face relationships – that’s real connectedness. Constantly emailing, tweeting, etc. are actually fake relationships that are meaningless unless you have also included live face-time as an important ingredient.
  • Life only has 24 hours in a day: 8 of which we sleep, 8 of which we work, 1 we might be working out, 1 – 2 we are dressing and commuting leaving only approximately 5 hours in which we can choose to spend how we want. If we are spending 5 hours/day on social media, TV etc. That leaves 0 for a joyful life.
  •  Leaders unplug. Do you want to be the real leader of your life or your company? Then don’t let technology dominate you.   You decide how and when to use it. Effective leadership requires in-person contact, building trust, listening to each other. And by the way so do personal relationships. Judge the number of friends you have – not by the number on Facebook – but those you actually share a coffee or a meal – or a quiet walk in the park.

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