Women of the World: Unplug!

UnplugBy Christy Schutz

It seems that 2013 has brought with it a myriad of competing priorities, an almost manic, frenzied pace and more stress than I have experienced in a long time. As a result, I am feeding this driving desire to try get ahead of the next “fire.” I’ve developed this ugly, twitchy dependence on technology and with it a need to be plugged in 24-hours a day. My efforts to stay a step ahead have put me further and further behind.

So, I have come to an important conclusion: I. Need. To. Unplug. And, if I may be so bold, chances are so do you. How can I say that so confidently? The statistics prove it.

Ray B. Williams covers some of the numbers in his blog Wired for Success, online at www.PsychologyToday.com:

“Work is no longer restricted to the office or actual place of work, it is carried with you to your home or anywhere you are through emails and text messages and phone calls. According to a study by the company Neverfail, 83 percent of professional workers check email after working hours; 66 percent take a smartphone or laptop with them on vacation and more than 50 percent report that they send emails or texts during a meal with family or friends. These practices, while not officially mandated by employers, have become expectations. So the workday, along with the mental and emotional pressures of it, expands to fill workers’ lives.”

As Work at Home Women, these facts present a unique challenge?

I mean, the fact is we DO literally live at work. And that blurring of our home life and work, coupled with all our tech gadgets, has got to take a toll. A study conducted in 2011 by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York proves this. The study focused on the differences between employees who work from home vs. those who work in a more traditional office setting. The study confirmed that people who work from home reported having a hard time transitioning from work mode to family mode (and as a result, often suffered higher levels of exhaustion).

I can definitely relate. When my “to-do” list grows, my office seems to beckon me. The usual addiction to my smart phone will alert me to a troubling email, prompt an untimely “commute” to my office (aka a quick stroll across the house) and next thing I know, I am sucked back into the vortex and failing miserably at work/life balance.

Feeling empowered by my decision to disconnect, I immediately signed on to my computer and started researching solutions (the irony of this does not escape me). I was intrigued when Google served up the website www.NationalDayofUnplugging.com. Established by the group “Reboot,” the National Day of Unplugging is set from sundown to sundown on March 2-3, 2013. The idea evolved out of their desire to reinstitute a weekly day of rest (they call it the Sabbath Manifesto), and is their way to encourage people to turn off their devices, get off of Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest and “start living a different life” by connecting with your family and community, savoring an uninterrupted meal or just sitting down to a good book.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But, it seems to me that we probably need more than just one occasion per year to unplug. Starting this weekend, I plan to experiment with a “tech free” Sunday. For me, I think it is just as much about “unplugging” from technology as it is about “plugging in” to the here and now.

What do you think? Experiencing technology overload or feeling too connected? If so, how do you unplug?

Christy Schutz, is a communications professional and freelance writer focused on topics like employer/personal branding, career management, personal development, women in the workplace, and female entrepreneurs. She enjoys putting 16+ years of experience in the advertising, recruitment marketing, employee/internal communications and special events industries to good use by helping others to discover, develop and market their own distinct calling or mission. This Tampa Bay, FL-based Mom also keeps herself busy by raising 4 kids, caring for her husband & doting on her dogs Petey and Daisy!

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