Much of the world is going on Spring Break this month, and even if this cultural phenomenon doesn’t apply to you, it doesn’t mean you don’t need it! Did you at least honor last weekend’s National Day of Unplugging? A thousand brownie points to you if you did!
Unplugging is a difficult practice for anyone, but especially for business owners. The fact that you’re a business owner (and a kids activity organizer) actually means you need it even more.
3 reasons camp and class directors should learn to unplug:
1. You have a LIFE. You have passions that happen in real-time – some of which perhaps even inspired your job. These may range from adventure, the arts, and sports to nature, kids, and community. Even if technology ranks among your areas of talent and expertise, we doubt your passion is of the type that sucks hours down the drain for so many of us these days.
2. Kids look up to you. (And they’re watching you.) To guide young people effectively in their relationship with technology, you have to deal with your own patterns first. Unplugging for a specified amount of time can teach you a lot about yourself and your habits. When you unplug and reflect, you gain clarity that will help guide the kids you work with.
3. You care about wellness. As youth leaders, you’re probably used to instructing kids in habits of good health – physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and perhaps even spiritually. So you’re probably encouraging healthy technology habits in kids and sometimes sense your own hypocrisy.
Do you long for a break from technology that will help you gain perspective? Now’s your chance.
6 ways to tame your device’s hold on you
- Research and streamline your device. Whether you turn on email notifications, use the “Do Not Disturb” feature on your iPhone, or put your device in Airplane Mode, you can become more adept at mastering your technology, so it doesn’t master you.
- Set a schedule for e-mailing, social media, and news, says Hussein Yahfoufi, vice president of Technology at OneRoof Energy. “I block 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. for emails. Most emails can wait a few hours and often times get resolved in that time,” he says. “If it’s an emergency, people will find you, he adds.”1
- Limit texting to specific times. “Unless you use your mobile phone for work, keep it off while at the office — or schedule times to check for and send text messages,” says Jennifer Lonoff Schiff in CIO magazine. “During office hours, have team and family members contact you via your work phone in case of emergency or via email for less important matters.”1
- Contact those associated with your business in the same way that you prefer to be contacted. There will always be exceptions to this guideline. If kids are in your care, parents want to be able to reach you immediately. But that doesn’t mean that they should expect you to be instantly available at all times. If they text you in the evening about something that doesn’t require an immediate response, resist the urge to respond right away, and text them back during your normal work hours. Or perhaps even switch to email – a medium that seems to carry a little less urgency.
- Identify ways to connect with others that help you truly recharge. Texting and other forms of quick, digital communications with friends and family members definitely have advantages. Though connecting is important, consider what kind of interaction will feel truly satisfying – A lunch date? A leisurely phone call? A handwritten note? The more you rely on texting and social media to connect with the people in your life, the more you invite the possibility that connecting becomes interruptions into your daily routine and miss out on a fuller experience. Find the best ways to connect with friends and family, and focus your time and energy on those.
- Set boundaries for yourself that you would want kids to emulate. It can be hard to come up with boundaries for yourself. But a good place to start might be by asking yourself this question: What boundaries do I want for the kids in my life? Scheduling daily timeouts? Days off, even? Cultivating new go-tos for your spare minutes?
If you want to unplug, accepting the standards you set for your students could be a good place to start.