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Hack Your Week: Spend Saturdays Offline

Hack Your Week: Spend Saturdays Offline

    A lot of us spend a lot of time online every…single…day. Whether you’re actively surfing the Internet or have your email program actively checking in the background, you’re online. Even with notifications off and doing all you can to avoid multitasking, you’re probably still connected to the online world. And you’re doing this daily.

    Why not take a day off?

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    I’ve written about starting your week early (as compared to most others) by working on Sundays, and I’ve also touched on how I am unconventional in my starting of a new year by waiting until February. So I’m sure you’re not surprised when I tell you that I have started to take Saturdays off. Completely off. I steer clear of Facebook, I go tweetless on Twitter and my inbox fills up.

    And I’m loving it.

    So how can someone who makes their living working as an online writer and editor manage to completely disconnect from his devices one day each and every week? Because I make the effort to do so. Don’t get me wrong…it wasn’t easy to start doing this, but once I got used to it then I knew it was absolutely the right thing to do for myself, my family and my work.

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    Here’s how I did it.

    1. Automate

    I’m not one for automating every single service you’ve got going for you online, but I am an advocate for it when the timing is right. Going on vacation or taking time off is an ideal time to automate as much as possible. Schedule tweets with a service like CoTweet or HootSuite, set up an auto-responder for email like AwayFind, schedule your posts to go live on Saturday and write them in advance.

    There are no shortage of tools to keep up appearances during your “Saturday Sabbaticals” – you just have to take the time to put them into place. Set them up, foster the habit, and enjoy the freedom of disconnection.

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    2. Use Devices Offline

    Just because you’re not going to be spending time online on Saturdays doesn’t mean you can’t use your devices on Saturdays. As a writer, I do plenty of writing on Saturdays, but none of it gets put online on that day of the week. I also do plenty of task management and organization on Saturdays, but I don’t do any of that online.

    In fact, I’ve even gone so far as to turn both of my iOS devices on Airplane Mode to ensure that nothing gets in or out. It keeps me offline and my brain has now been trained to know that if there are any components of what I need to do that require an online connection, they wait until Sunday. That almost always results in a clear agenda for Saturdays. Which is a pretty nice agenda to have once a week.

    3. Disconnect to Reconnect

    By going offline and getting in touch with things outside of the online world, you’re actually setting yourself to up to reconnect with some the things that you may have lost touch with during the week. Planning meals for a new diet, going for a hike, reading that book you’ve been neglecting – all of those things (and more) will come to the forefront because you’ve given yourself limits as to what you’re exposed to on Saturdays.

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    It’s important to give your brain and eyes a rest from the deluge of information and tasks that come at you full force as a result of the Internet. When you stay up for days on end without sleep, you aren’t going to be good to anyone – let alone yourself. Think of staying online 7 days a week in a similar fashion. You need to take a break from it, and it’s that disconnection that will allow you to come back fresh and focused the next time you go online.

    Switch Off to Power Up

    It’s not impossible to stay completely offline on Saturdays. You just need to want to do it for your own well-being so that you can set yourself up for success.

    When you automate what you need to have going on during Saturdays, you give yourself the peace of mind to enjoy the day. When you don’t restrict the full use of your devices that can access the online world, but flick the switch to keep them offline, you’re not punishing yourself so that you can’t work on that book or tidy up that desktop. When you disconnect fully, you refresh yourself so that you can back at full strength when you connect again.

    But the biggest benefit of spending your Saturdays offline, is that you stand to improve your life as a whole – both online and off.

    (Photo credit: Offline Beauty Woman via Shutterstock)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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