Disconnect to reconnect

brokeniphoneA few months ago I was flying from Hawaii to Germany. Total transit time was almost 24 hours and for most of that time I didn’t have any cell phone or internet reception. At the time I was dreading it. How could I get by with none of my electronic gadgetry to keep me on top of everything going on. As I was flying across the Atlantic though I experienced something profound – uninterrupted thought and productivity. Wow.

It can be hard to get stuff done with constant emails, phone calls, and text messages coming at you every minute. You spend all your time reacting to stuff instead of doing things on your own schedule. Although you’re still making progress – communication can be a big part of work – you’re still operating on someone else’s schedule, not yours. This, in turn, limits your productivity and drains your energy.

It’s the difference between running on a treadmill or running on land. When you’re running on a treadmill, you’re reacting. If you don’t, you’ll fall off the treadmill. Either way, you’re not going to get very far. Alternatively, you can go outside and run on land. Same action, different method. You’re no longer reacting, but rather setting and following your own path on your own terms. And you’re actually getting somewhere.

In the past I’ve talked about eliminating energy drain as a great way to maximize energy. Constantly reacting to stuff is draining. It keeps you from being productive, from contributing to your friends and relationships, and from really thinking through things. I’ve met lots of really hard working people who are unsuccessful. Some of the most successful people I know take days to respond to email and they take their time with everything they do. They work smart. They’re thoughtful and careful with their time. Most things aren’t as important as they seem.

The good news is, there’s an easy two step process to command and conquer your life. First schedule specific times in your day when you disconnect from everything. Schedule you time and stick to the schedule. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning. Don’t pick up your phone calls if you’re in the middle of something.

Second, when you’re working on something, disconnect. Turn off your phone, close your door, shut down email, disconnect your computer from the internet if you’re not using the web.

Disconnecting allows you to really reconnect. Not just with work, but with real people. It allows you to reconnect with yourself and what’s really important. So go ahead, turn off that phone. Or better yet, blend it.

[ photo: flickr / TheTechBuzz ]

5 thoughts on “Disconnect to reconnect”

  1. yoyo
    I'm Oscar, frenchie in Boise, Idaho. I know you through the Mesialabs'team that i met before they left for hawaii.
    Interesting thoughts on your blog, i kinda agree on a lot of points. I've got a little exercise for you if you don't mind. It's from an entrepreneur book that i read …a year ago already!
    3 steps:
    – Stop. yeah, when you get upset, stressed out, pissed off, tired, bored and you loose your point, Stop. Literally. Stop what you are doing even if it's scratching your face.
    – See Through It. The practice of engaging yourself as an observer.
    – Feel. Create the room to appreciate yourself. Create that observer's place where you are not reacting to any feelings that take you over. A genuine place to be.

    It's about finding your self and build emotional thrength and turn your passion into a fuel that will let you find your vision…
    It works, it's interesting and challenging. Tell me what you think, if it applies to fitness..


  2. Oscar, thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts. I love this kind of Zen approach to doing things and it applies equally well to fitness and business. In the gym, it's easy to get stressed out or unmotivated by lack of progress. It can be equally easy to hurt yourself by over training because you think that by training more you'll get to your goals faster.

    I've been there so many times where I just keep hurting myself doing the same exercises. For example, every time I tried benching more than 225, I'd tweak my upper spine and be out for almost a month. I did that over and over for years until just recently when I started working with Trevor, my personal trainer. He had me step back and completely change my approach. I went from lifting 100 lbs dumbbells to lifting 20 lbs dumbbells to train my body to have proper form.

    To do that and be comfortable with it, I had to really appreciate myself. Appreciate that my goal was more important than how much weight I could lift right now. Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward.

    What's the book you read?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *