Whether you are a blogger, online consultant or traditional business owner, if a majority of your exposure/income/success is driven through the internet, then I need to dispel a myth for you.
When you own an online business, it is imperative to stay connected…like, ALL the time.
That just aint true.
The truth is, an overload of screen time puts you at risk for burn-out, can deteriorate the quality of your work and murder your productivity thanks to the infamous killer known as “distraction”.
Now, I want to reassure you right now that today’s post is NOT a lecture. I have zero intention to preach to you at length about how technology is rotting your brain. Google is not trying to body-snatch you, and I shall make no such claims.
I just want the best for you. I also want the best for your blog and/or online business. I want you to be happy and successful. I want you to reach your goals without the threat of burn-out constantly looming overhead.
I want you and your company to be here for the long haul.
And truth is, in order for that to happen, you are going to have to un-freaking-plug every once in a while.
Understand, I’m not referring to taking your basic break, where you walk about, suck in some fresh air and eat ice cream (although that’s super important, too). What I’m talking about today are productive tasks you can do for your business that do not involve a computer, cell phone or electronic device.
Although it’s a modern era and most of us would be up a river without an iPaddle if we were to lose our internet connection, I’d love it if you would humor me as I inject a little old school into our work routines and encourage you to take a technology time-out.
1. Unplug Your Planner
Bear with me. I know that these are the days of Evernote and that when it comes to your daily schedule, there’s an app for that. (or 1,000 apps…to be more specific.)
However, when you have a physical planner, you don’t have to switch to a different tab on your computer to view it. You don’t have to pick up your phone to figure out what needs to happen next. And because you’re not looking at a screen, you also aren’t inundated with the plethora of other shiny things on that screen that are grappling for your attention.
Instead, you can set that planner on the desk beside you and have it out all workday long. It won’t yell at you. It doesn’t ding or chirp or cry out for you to update it to its latest version. Also, the only down-time you’ll experience with that thing is when you close it shut.
While I know online planning devices work for so many people, there is something to be said about manually crossing off an item when it’s done. There’s also something really rad about sitting on your deck at the end of a workday and jotting down your goals for tomorrow…without a distraction in the world.
>>> Bonus For Bloggers <<<
To get you started, here are three awesome planners via three awesome bloggers that you can look into right now by clicking on the images below. And it’s worth noting that I’m not an affiliate for any of these peeps, and there are loads more out there to choose from.
2. Face to Face Conversations
Without a doubt, some of the absolute BEST ideas I’ve had throughout my entire working life have developed from conversations with friends and colleagues.
Just this past week alone, I’ve been blessed with no less than ten different blog topics thanks to in person pow-wows with my husband and my best friend. Neither of them blog and they both work in completely unrelated industries, but that’s part of why they have the ability to inspire me and get me thinking outside of the box.
Face to face conversations are a breeding ground for new ideas and valuable feedback. Plus, the dialogue isn’t diluted by internet etiquette and you have the ability to read body language and facial expressions. There is always going to be something special about the unfiltered and irreplaceable benefit of meeting someone in person, having a chat and listening to what they have to say.
>>> Try This <<<
Think of three people right now that you could schedule a lunch date or happy hour with, and shoot them a message. Don’t feel pressured to treat it as a business meeting, either. Simply aim to ask them questions about their job, bounce an idea off them or see what’s on their mind in general. HAVE FUN and let the conversation evolve organically.
3. Print Those Printables
There are a TON of websites that offer guides, worksheets and workbooks created specifically to assist you on a variety of business related tasks. While some of them allow you the ability to edit them and fill them out on your computer, many of them require you to print them and….gasp….use a pen or pencil. And I know what you might be thinking:
But Whitney! Why would they make me print out their worksheet? Do they have something against trees?!? I LIKE trees!
I get it. I like trees, too. While we’re at it, can I get a “hell yeah” for the hickory…right now?
But that being said, there is a method behind the madness. Many of those printables require you to brainstorm, to answer questions and to contemplate…at length – all things that are vastly easier to accomplish when you’re unplugged.
>>> Try This <<<
As you find these types of resources online, print them off and keep them in their own dedicated binder. During those moments you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you’re in a rut, grab your binder and go to a happy place. Pick out one or more to work through and I bet that once you’re done, you’ll feel more rejuvenated and focused than before.
4. Read A Book
As business owners, it is vital that we actively seek out ways to continually add to our knowledge base. The best leaders often have the curiosity of a student.
You could opt to read a book that directly teaches you a knew skill, or one that helps you view your business from another perspective or one that simply provides some ever-useful motivation. Regardless, pick a topic that serves your needs and get to reading.
>>> Bonus Tip <<<
Don’t feel like you have to do this during your personal time and don’t feel guilty about indulging your inner bookworm during work hours, either. After all, you’re doing this help your business, right? Schedule in some time during your workday to devour a chapter, then unplug and dive in. Here are a few to get you started!
5. Reorganize Your Workspace
When you need to take a momentary escape from technology, a productive way to spend that time can be as simple as reorganizing your work space.
Take a look around. Is everything where it’s supposed to be? Could it use a cleaning? Heck…maybe what it really needs is a bud vase with a perdy little flower in it.
Keep in mind that this is the space that is supposed to bring forth your best work. However, because the time we spend in this space is also our “busy time”, it often gets neglected. Think how much more productive you might be if you just took a few minutes to occasionally declutter, reorganize and add some personality where possible.
>>> Try This <<<
Do a quick search on the web to find loads of free prints for your office or even a new desktop wallpaper. Sometimes that’s all you need to rejuvenate your work space! Here’s one I found (and LOVE) from Sara Rae Hughes of BeInspiredCreative.com. Tell me that little baby hanging on your wall wouldn’t pump you up. And if you click on the image, it’ll take you to a set of 10 freebie prints she created just for us!
6. Become BFF’s With a Notebook
Here is a completely true statement: This blog would most likely not be possible (and certainly not as enjoyable for me to create) if it weren’t for my trusty notebook.
The reality is, a majority of my ideas come to me when I’m driving, or in the shower, or trying to fall asleep, or eating lunch, etc. Basically, times where I’m nowhere near my computer and typically engrossed in some unrelated task. Because of this, my notebook has been my saving grace. I keep it nearby most of the time, and am constantly jotting and scribbling these fleeting thoughts within its pages.
I’d be lost without the thing. Seriously.
And yes, I’ve tried using the Notes app on my cell phone. It just wasn’t the same. If my best ideas come when all my electronic devices are off, why would I want to involve one as soon that idea comes my way?
Also, my handy dandy notebook never needs recharged. Plus, it’s fun to flip through it and revisit old thoughts. Over time, it morphs into this ultra-valuable resource that I can turn to when I feel uninspired. You never know when those 3 random words you wrote down a few months ago will become a trigger to a fully-developed plan of action.
>>> Behind The Scenes <<<
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I picked this cutie up on the cheap at Target. You’d also know that it has traveled with me through many states and that I’d freak the heck out if I lost it.
Here it is in Birmingham, AL!
7. Attend An Event
Industry related events and networking functions can be invaluable to bloggers and online business owners. While they’re sure to be an investment of time and sometimes an investment of cash, they expose you to unique opportunities that otherwise you would have missed.
Plus, they force you out of the house/office. Am I right?
It’s worth it to keep your eye out for business socials and conferences related to your niche. These events serve as a gateway to some sweet opportunities.
For example, you could:
- Learn a new skill/technique thanks to a Keynote Speaker
- Make new contacts that can benefit your business
- Have interesting conversations that can spark a new idea
- Gain new exposure for your business
- Hear or see something that gets you completely reinvigorated
- Meet a potential future collaborator
- Discover a business tool/resource you didn’t know about
- Further brand yourself as a subject matter expert in your field
- Get a feel for what people are most interested in regarding your niche
- Keep on the pulse of hot topics and trends for your industry
- Socialize with people who “understand you”
>>> Bottom Line <<<
There are a ton of benefits to putting you and your business out there, even if it means stepping outside your comfort zone or doling out a few of your hard-earned dollars. If it can increase your business potential in the long run, then it’s usually an investment worth considering.
Now it’s time to hear from you!
What business related tasks do you take offline?
As a blogger or online business owner, do you find it helpful to “unplug” on occasion?
Let us hear it in the comments below!