Here in Spain, today is Labor Day. At this particular moment, instead of being at my desk, I’m in our apartment in La Rioja, Spain’s wine country, recovering from having eaten too much yesterday at a home-style restaurant that keeps serving food until you’re ready to explode — and then they bring out dessert.
But forget about my bout of over-eating; the thing to focus on here is the fact that I’m in the process of completely disconnecting from work and having a bunch of laughs with friends.
Sometimes that disconnection is difficult for me. I love my job and often find myself thinking about it outside of work hours — in the shower, while falling asleep, while watching a movie, when I’m out for dinner. And when I’m not working, I am thinking about articles for Unclutterer, or thinking about how I could squeeze more out of each day.
Shep Hyken, in an article in Forbes, says that working outside working hours is normal, especially the higher up you go. However, he also believes that everyone has the right to disconnect from work and even quotes the cheesy line: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
With smartphones and constant connectivity, it’s often hard to leave work at work, or any other passion, for that matter. So what can we do to truly disconnect from the need to be productive?
The Huffington Post offers several ways of organizing disconnection time:
- Make time off a priority
- Delegate tasks
- Meditate mindfully
- Use your smartphone to remind you to disconnect more
- Write about your stress in order to release it
And SmartChic goes even further with ten disconnection ideas:
- Prepare your next day before leaving work
- Set limits and stick to them
- Derail work thoughts when you are outside of work with fun distractions
- Relax with a hot shower when getting home from work
- Get hobbies that are not productivity-related
- Have non-work friends
- Spend time with (chosen) family
- Do something creative
- Turn off electronics
These are all really good ideas, but to be honest, I’m exhausted just reading about all the ways to disconnect.
Let me give you my foolproof way of disconnecting. I learned how to do it when I went through a health crisis decades ago and was forced to do nothing.
- Sit on the sofa or in a comfy chair
- Focus on a blank patch of the wall or the ceiling
- Let your mind wander with no judgement about any thoughts that may occur to you
And that’s it. No rules, no disconnection productivity tips, no processes to learn. Disconnecting is about disconnecting. Remember, as En Vogue sings, “Free your mind, and the rest will follow.”