Lately, I’ve found myself shunning my laptop and cell phone on weekends. It’s not easy for a work-at-home contractor to get away from work. There is always something that needs to be done. One more email that needs to be sent. One more connection to make on social media sites. One quick slide that needs to be updated. One photo to upload. One more text response.
Sometimes even shutting down my computer and closing the door on my office isn’t enough. It’s like a super-magnetic force that pulls me back in … and suddenly an entire family weekend is gone while I was lost in cyber space.
So, I’ve found that by physically leaving the house and getting out-of-town, I can pry myself away from my inbox. I used to pack my laptop–just in case. Sometimes I’d leave it in the car, and sometimes I wouldn’t be so fortunate. But I’ve come to a new-found place where I believe there is no emergency so urgent that it needs to interrupt time with my family and friends on the weekends.
I’ve also learned that the rate at which I respond to requests becomes my personal jail. If I respond immediately, I teach my clients (and friends and family) to expect immediate responses. If it takes me through the weekend, then they will learn that I don’t respond on weekends … and therefore not to expect a response.
And, while I’m still taking my cell phone with me on weekend excursions–in case of an emergency–it turns out that I’m only using it as a phone. Not as a web browser, email tool, or Facebook device. Because when I’m visiting with family and friends in person, the whole world changes. As it turns out, human connection is so much more dynamic than Web-based communications. Who knew?