How To Unplug, Turn Off, And Be Present On Your 2018 Summer Vacation

When it's time to turn off and unplug for summer vacation.

Getting ready to take that summer vacation with your family? Here’s your crash course for how to turn off technology and unplug from the office, social media, and other irrelevant “notifications” (AKA interruptions) that distract you from being present with your family and friends on your summer vacation.

It’s 1996. You’re packing for your much-needed vacation with your family. You walk through the airport to your gate (TSA who?) Maybe listen to your Sony Walkman on the flight. Your kids fight over who gets to listen to the new Backstreet Boys CD on the Panasonic Mash, they work it out eventually. Upon arrival to the resort everyone slathers up in coconut-scented sunblock, you style it up with some zinc for your nose, grab a book, a cooler, and spend the reach of the day soaking up some serious rays. You take turns rotating with family members or ask a stranger to snap 2-3 obligatory summer vacation family photos with your disposable camera (because there was no such thing as a selfie), and then its smooth sailing with Mai Tai’s and Pina Coladas for the rest of the day.

Today? Our lives are filled with technology, apps, and devices that keep us “connected” with everyone and everything but the people in front of us.  Turning off and unplugging from work for summer vacation is easier said than done.

Summer vacation goes a little something like this: While packing for your summer vacation, you pack your iPad, maybe your smaller laptop, your tablet and all their respective chargers.

You stop to take a photo the contents of your suitcase to post on Facebook, “Summer Vacay with the family! #cantwait #summervacation2018 #blessed”

You check your social media feed three times sifting through the TSA line…

You “Like” Pamela who now lives in Colorado’s black bean burrito lunch pic, you sit at your gate checking emails, the kids stare at their phones Snapchatting.

You take another family selfie at the gate “Getting ready to board! #summervacay #arewethereyet? #cancunherewecome” Upon arrival at your resort, you sit in the hotel room half an hour checking through work emails, then make your way down to the beach with your tablet and iPhone.

Some sand blows into the crevice of iPhone microphone, you turn to your partner, mumbling something about how ridiculous technology designs are today.

You sit down to finally read that new eBook, and oh! Chad from Chicago commented on your plane boarding selfie…

You have three retweets on Twitter, 4 Snapchat notifications and 30 likes on Instagram.  Your daughter says something, but you didn’t catch it because you were reading an email from the office, so you smile and nod, eyes on the email.

You finally look up and realize how picturesque this place is, and you’ve got to add it to you Instagram story.

You spend the next 5 minutes taking the perfect photo, then another 15 adding filters and a description for Instagram “#beachlife #familyvacation #lovetheseguys #thankful.”

More messages flood in…

That one issue from the office you knew was going to happen the moment you stepped away happened, and you huff and puff back to the hotel room because you have to put this fire out immediately.

Which, by the way, if you find yourself as a part-time executive, part-time Fire-Fighter in your business, here’s some thoughts from Lessons Learned for Smarter Business

Being a ‘doer’ is often a soft trap set for yourself – you feel like you must tend to every detail, handle every customer issue, process all orders, do the scheduling, and more.  You know how to get the job done, and if you are honest with yourself, you feel as though no one can do the job as good as you.

The solution? It’s all about process and procedure.  If you want to scale, you can’t rely on finding the perfect employee and keeping them for life – you need to carefully document everything, how your business works and how you service your customers then ensure everyone is adhering to those processes.

This concept is never more relevant or obvious in how it shows up in our lives than when we are physically removed from the office. Check out the full article here.

We all hear the purists, “I keep my phone in my luggage the moment I arrive.” but this negates the much-needed functions of Maps, Spotify, Yelp, Cameras, Whale Trail…the necessities. The good news? There is a middle of the road solution to unplugging without having to downgrade to your old Walkman (although that would be pretty cool).

The simplest solution? Put your phone on “Airplane” mode the moment your vacation begins.

Need to use Maps, or use Yelp for where to eat dinner at night?

Here’s your next secret weapon: in your cellular data settings, you can turn off cellular data functions for specific apps. So Mail and social media apps like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat— AKA everything that takes you out of the room with your spouse and family? Turn them off.

Are you a sneaker? If you’re the type that can’t resist eating that last cookie, or in this case, you have to check that ‘Gram feed — we double dog dare you: Delete the app from your phone altogether.

Live on the edge, man. Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter — you won’t lose anything data or memory-wise, but it takes the temptation and impulse off the table.

What about if there IS a dire emergency, and someone from work or wherever DOES need to get a hold of you?

Ready for this?  Give a small handful of your emergency contacts, your “VIPs” (house sitter, pet sitter, administrator, receptionist, business partner) your hotel name, phone number, and room number, so if there’s an emergency they can get a hold of you. They can leave a message.

The Cold Hard Facts: Most work emergencies aren’t truly work emergencies after all— an email is a lot easier to send off to someone on vacation than picking up the phone and calling their hotel room to interrupt them.

As I mentioned in a previous article, 3 Tips To Keep Your Business From Getting Stuck:

Be sure “emergencies” really are emergencies – Sometimes things appear to be an emergency and, being the leader you are, you eagerly jump in to save the day. Ask yourself, “Does this issue REALLY need my personal attention?” Guard against your own ego drawing you into a short-term action that makes you feel like the hero in an emergency so you you can avoid doing the harder work around your larger objectives. Plus, realize you are stealing valuable experience from your staff if you jump in and handle everything.

When you turn off and unplug, get out of Fire-Fighter-Mode, this gives your brain the opportunity to generate novel, creative ideas. When your mind is relaxed you naturally shift into bigger picture thinking which is where ingenuity and inspiration live. You can read that full article here if this resonates with you: 3 Tips To Keep Your Business From Getting Stuck

If you still can’t detach and mentally unplug from your technology devices – there’s always the ole salt bath option: Take that iPad, iPhone or laptop and give it an old dunkaroo in the ocean and that’ll negate all social media alerts and deterrents from enjoying real moments in real life with your family.

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