An Escape from Technology Challenge

Terry Gross’ interview with Matt Richtel during her National Public Radio program Fresh Air, discussed the impact of “our brains on gadgets” and the “three-day effect.” Did you know three days is about how long it takes to relax and no longer feel compelled to respond to a ringing phone or buzzing email?

Let’s face it, we’re all overwhelmed with information and we feel compelled to keep up with it. We might think we’ll lose business if we don’t respond to clients right away or we’re so addicted to “what’s happening” that we just can’t stand the thought of being out of the loop. Research shows being constantly interrupted by email causes stress and the average time it takes to get re-focused from an interruption (23 minutes) takes a toll on productivity. Not to mention, when we’re constantly connected there’s  no empty space or down time for tapping into our creativity.

I used to work for an organization that offered four-day workweeks during the summer, which meant regular three-day weekends. I loved it! My productivity increased working 9.5 hours a day because getting in early and working late gave me more quiet time. Three-day weekends kept me more relaxed. I had one day for errands, one day for “doing nothing total relaxation,” and one day to gear up for the next week. What a difference from two-day weekends of running around to do errands one day and gearing up for the week the next. (And …why am I not doing that now …?)
hammock.jpgThis Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to try something new. I’m engaging in a three-day challenge to give technology and my brain a rest. I’m committing to a “doing-nothing-total-relaxation day” to let my mind float and allow some creativity. Let’s see how I do with disconnecting — care to join the challenge?

How easy is it for you to totally disconnect from technology (blackberry, cell phones, etc.) for a three-day respite? Is it possible? I’d love your comments.

Linda Hardenstein, MPA, PCC empowers achievement-oriented professionals to conquer the stress of overwhelm and create environments that keep you performing at your peak to achieve the fulfillment in business and life that you deserve.