Schedule an Unplugged Sabbath

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Unplugging allows me to gain perspective on my computer time and the effect I allow it to have on the rest of my week.
-Trina Holden (@TrinaHolden) in “My #1 Sanity Saver” on trinaholden.com

When you own your own business, you can never really leave work at the office.  When your family business takes place where you live, it’s next to impossible to separate yourself from the demands of work.  And when you work online, it’s easy to forget that you can close the computer and be offline and the world won’t fall apart.

I’m still working on this.  I have a friend who doesn’t use the computer or internet at all on one day every week.  Everyone knows that if you want to get ahold of Trina on Wednesdays, you call or text her instead of emailing or messaging her on Facebook.  And you know what?  A day without an ever-filling inbox and constant Facebook notifications sounds awfully nice.

My friend Ashleigh once mentioned something about “closed computer times” in a blog post and that phrase has stuck with me.  As handy as it might be sometimes to have a smart phone, my husband and I have always been thankful that we didn’t, because we really can close the computer, leave the house, and be offline. Though for business reasons I can’t go all day without checking email, I do my best to keep the computer closed (and thus that email “ding” silenced) during mealtimes, and our soon to be school times.

I always argue that I can’t unplug completely—our family business needs me to be online to answer customer questions.  I can’t wait until afternoons to go online because I live on the west coast and I have clients on the east coast.  I can’t go a week without blogging because I have an ad network that require frequent blogging.  My list of excuses is endless.  But I’ve decided that my excuses aren’t enough to really excuse my lack of some unplugged time.

“Unplugging when you’re a virtual assistant is tough and it takes discipline,” says Lisa Morosky in The Bootstrap VA. But she argues that if you “never unplug and [are] available 24/7…you’ll start to resent your work and your clients.”

Right now, due to my work schedule, I’m already offline most of the day Saturdays.  But in my little online world, Sundays are when there’s not much online action.  So I’ve decided I’m going to take Sunday off from social media, and just check email once or twice.  I may schedule a post or two, but I will do my best to stay off social media on Sundays (so if you see me liking your posts, message me and ask what I’m doing!).  I am not going to be legalistic about it, but I am going to stop stressing about being offline and just enjoy a Sabbath rest.

When is your offline “Sabbath” going to be?

It doesn’t have to be Saturday or Sunday.  In fact, depending on your social media goals and followers, those days may be the best time for you to be online: everyone else is home so your posts might get the most interaction on the weekend.  Mondays are next to impossible to take off—it’s the start of the work week!  Tuesdays are the best days for posts and launches since Mondays are so busy.  Maybe you’ll join my friend Trina in disappearing on Wednesdays.  Perhaps Thursday works better for you.  Maybe you’ll call it an early weekend on Friday.

Maybe you can only take part of a weekday off.  Maybe you’ll check email but not social media or vice versa.  Maybe you’ll be done with the computers at dinnertime.  Or maybe you have the luxury of limiting your screen time to your children’s naptime or taking the entire weekend off.

Whenever you do it, just do it.  Take some time to unplug.  You’ll be glad you did.  Going offline enables you to give more when you come back online. (click here to Tweet that)

Do you already practice a regular offline Sabbath?  How do you make sure you unplug regularly?

(For this “31 Days of Social Media” series, I’ll be taking Saturdays and Sundays off.  Have a restful—and maybe even unplugged?—weekend!  See you Monday.)

I find, personally, that turning the phone and internet off for most evenings and one day every weekend is a blessing. It gives me a little bit of quiet. It enables me, in the stillness, to really rest.
-Elisabeth Allen (@hopescribbles) in “7 Habits of Highly Effective Students” on ylcf.org

Further Reading:

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3 Comments

  1. Love this, Gretchen. With the semester in full swing, I find it impossible to stay completely offline on Sundays (there are two different school emails to check!), but I log out of Twitter and Facebook on both Saturdays and Sundays. I’ve found it’s refreshing. 馃檪 Although, obviously, I still find a spare five minutes to blog-hop in between study periods. 馃檪