This post originally appeared on Forbes.com.
Technology has democratized information and in turn has fueled hyper consumption. On a daily basis, we are assaulted with new content that we must consciously choose to engage with or disregard. Whether it is a text message from a friend, a real time twitter feed, the latest youtube sensation, or even this very blog post, we are constantly plugged in to a hyper connected media network – one that actually causes a paralyzing and counterproductive affect for us as individuals. One engineering professor explains: “I feel that the iPad is yet another electronic toy to distract people from the hard work, focus, and dedication that a productive life requires.”
But here in lies a paradox. If you managed to navigate to this article to read this post, chances are good that you, like me, have a desire to consume information in order to improve various aspects of your life or business. It’s natural to think that more content consumption will increase our chances of success, because after all it is a learning experience, but as a fellow entrepreneur puts it “there are days where I’m always working but by day’s end, I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing.”
So how do we disconnect from all of this hyper consumption in order to really pursue a productive life or career?
1. Focus on one thing and one thing only. When you eat, eat. When you read, read. When you work, work. How many times have you been in a meeting or out to a meal and a member of the party breaks out their phone and starts checking email? In order to thoroughly disconnect from this always-on network of information, we must be willing to compartmentalize certain activities so that we are really only doing one thing at a time. This is an extremely difficult task especially when you have web browsers and technology that can simultaneously let you read email, read articles, listen to music, chat with friends, and watch videos all at the same time – tab by tab, app by app.
2. Connect with nature. Leave your phone at home and take a walk outside. Better yet, take a weekend trip to a beach, a park, a resort, or any place where you enjoy the peacefulness of nature. Looking back on my experiences, I’ve found that mostly all major decisions I’ve made were made while taking a walk or sitting alone outside. In fact, in Walter Isaacson’s new book on [entity display="Steve Jobs" type="person" active="true" deactivated="false" key="steve-jobs"]Steve Jobs[/entity], there are many instances where Steve goes for a walk in order to address some critical aspect of his life or business.
3. Pick up a hobby. Part of the reason I write articles like this one is because for the hour or so it takes me to compose this piece, I am not doing anything else. A colleague of mine described his favorite hobby, surfing and said “when I’m sitting on my board in the ocean, I’m only thinking about one thing – when the next wave is going to come.” In this resolve and dedication to a hobby or sport, we can find solace and peace from our pressures of every day life.
Once you are able to truly disconnect, you can begin to focus, with a clear state of mind, on things that matter. You can begin to work on things like overcoming career anxiety or maybe even getting started with your very own business venture.
Do you have special tips or tricks for disconnecting?
- 3 Ways to Disconnect (forbes.com)