A teammate at one of my project just came to us last week: “I am leaving for vacation to a cottage in the woods with no cellphone coverage. I will not be able to pick up your calls or answer your e-mails in following two weeks”. The reaction from other team members was surprising: “Wow, this is like the best holidays ever! We’re so jealous!”
The more we are expected to be online 24/7 for lots of of (mostly) meaningless requests, the more we appreciate when we do not have to be online. Being offline helps us experience the forgotten art of living in the present. We can enjoy our friends, sounds, smells, views around us, living fully. However, how often are we able to reserve even few hours of offline time? Offline is the new luxury. It is pleasant, rare and hard to get. But not impossible. These are three ways how I enjoy life of luxury.
Spend your mornings “on the plane”
My work as a management consultant requires me to do lot of writing and thinking, as well as lot of meetings, workshops and answering tons of e-mails. Doing this in a constant uncontrolled stream, I accomplish nothing.
So I started set aside my mornings from 9-12 when I am most productive. I stay in calm, quiet place, turn my phone into airplane mode and e-mail and start being productive. By productive, I mean producing something – draft a project plan or a strategic report for my client, prepare materials for my trainings or write a blog post or Linkedin post.
Sometimes, it is not possible to achieve a productive morning like that because of client requirements or simply because I fail. By failing, I mean falling into “reactive mode”, answering e-mails and phone calls, accomplishing someone else’s goals. I aim for having at least 3 mornings “on the plane” a week, starting with my goals first before reacting to others.
Try working without a computer.
This is a more hardcore version that I sometimes do: I go to a cafe from 9-12 bringing nothing than my paper notebook. I plan my speeches, trainings, outline presentations and reports or create strategic plans this way. For many of these high leverage tasks, you really do not need your computer or cellphone, they are more of a distraction than help. You would not believe how awesome this is before you try.
Enjoy the luxury of being offline on your time off
Start small by reserving few hours of offline time: Go for a long walk, a concert, museum, art exhibition or whatever you like. Or just stay at home with glass of wine and a book, but turn your computer and phone off. After that, reserve a day or two of offline time during the weekends. Live in the present, how we used to do before 2000s. It really is good!
In a few days, I am leaving to hike a long distance hiking trail in Iceland, with 6 days without cellphone coverage, electricity or shops. Just nature, my friends and me. This will be a well deserved luxurious refresh. Get yours too now.