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Disconnect - 3 keys to disconnecting while on vacation

Previously posted on Medium, reposted here. I blog so infrequently, I figure I need to repurpose as much content as I can!
(Photo by Marc Sirkin, Utah Mountains 2013)

Even before mobile/smartphones I was bad; sneaking away to check email, reading business books or memos while on the beach, working on proposals or ideas at the pool. All behaviors of someone who would rather lose himself in work, instead of being present with family, focusing on clearing the mind and having a good time.

Over the past few years I’ve improved my efforts to disconnect. I did however notice that it would take 2 or 3 days to fully disconnect. Similar to an addict, I’d have dreams about work, fanatically check in and have to almost physically restrain myself from replying to emails. It was bad, very bad. I’d come back from work up to date, but feeling like I hadn’t even had time off.

As my kids grew older, it became more and more important to disconnect from work and get focused on my family and friends while on vacation.

I was recently off for a week in Utah and did a lot of thinking about being disconnected. I noticed how much I loved it! In honor of that glorious time off, I present you with my 3 keys to disconnecting:

  1. Drop the ego. Start to realize you aren’t you just aren’t that important. Life goes on. Work goes on. People step up while you are gone.
  2. Be selfish. Read something other than the news, business books and memos. Find a book or a movie that moved you and consume it again with fresh eyes. I have been sharing my favorite movies from when I was a teenager with my own teens and it’s been an incredible experience. Most recently, we watched “Stand by Me” which brought me back to thinking about what it was like to be 12.
  3. (Re)charge. I read recently something about how the brain engages in new ways when you are learning something for the first time. Do that — find something new or something you do rarely and allow your brain to struggle with it, focus on it. It (re)charges you in ways that are hard to explain but are easy to feel. We went on a 3 mile hike that I absolutely loved, something I don’t often do. I was focused on the trail, the rocks, not getting hurt and enjoying the view. It was amazing.When it was over, I felt elated. My mind felt electric.
I can’t wait for my next vacation, even if it’s for a day or even a few hours, I will most certainly be disconnecting. I hope you can find your own keys to disconnecting.

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