Taking Time Away

stop sign with relax spray painted on in blackAs you might know, I’m a fan of George Couros (@gcouros) and his work as an educator and innovator. A few weeks back, he wrote a blog  post on The Importance of Rest, Relaxation, and Rejuvenation for Long-Term Growth. As we head into Term 2 break, I wanted to share his post with you and remind us all of the importance of unplugging from work and also from our devices.

First, let’s start with those devices. I’m as guilty as anyone. I wear a device. There’s another usually in my pocket or on the desk beside me. In a meeting, I wear a device, have one in my pocket and use one in the meeting. I’m connected in a ridiculous number of ways. Recently I started the practice of ‘parking’ my devices when I get home. My phone goes on a shelf and stays there for the evening. The watch comes off and is put on the charger.

I thought I had a pretty good digital awareness – that I could manage being connected and paying attention to other things. The fact is, I couldn’t always manage. I have found it liberating to park my devices and turn my whole attention to where it should be. At home with my family who I see precious little during the day.

Over the break, I challenge you to a tech break. The idea is not to totally abstain from all technology all break, but to be really thoughtful about your tech use. Here are some ideas.

Park Your Devices
Find a spot – out of sight – to leave your devices. You can choose for how long you will park it. But when you’ve parked it, really leave it there and find other amazing things to do, like read a book, go for a walk, sit on the floor and build something with Lego with your kid, or just sit and be alone with your thoughts (scary, I know).

Delete Apps
This might seem extreme, but one way we can really unplug is to simply remove the apps that seem to hold us hostage. If it’s work email, delete your email account from your phone. If you get sucked into all the new recipes on Pinterest (my downfall), delete the app. The beauty in this is that they are no longer literally at your fingertips. And you can always add them back in if and when you need to.

Reward Yourself
If you really, really, really need to check in on your device, do it as a reward. For example, you can read a book for 15 minutes. Give yourself 1 minute to check in. And keep up the cycle.

On to George Couros’ article. One of the ideas from his article that really struck me is the idea that taking time away from something can actually make us better. Using research on how people practice – as opposed to the number of hours practiced, Couros states, “…time to rest and rejuvenate allows many people to come back even better than they were before.” So, in your time away from Kristin (if you get some – recognizing not all of us get this time), focus not on what you should accomplish for next term, but on the things that you love and enjoy – outside of your job. This can only help to not only recharge your batteries for Term 3, but it might just make you even better than you already are.

Have a fantastic term break!

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