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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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    12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

    12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

    1. Nuts

    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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    2. Blueberries

    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

    3. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

    4. Broccoli

    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

    6. Soy

    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

    7. Dark chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

    15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

    10. Gingko biloba

    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

    11. Green and black tea

    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

    Find out more about green tea here:

    11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

    12. Sage and Rosemary

    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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