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?
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.
Here’s how I did it.
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.
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.
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)