Hawaii unplugged

March 8, 2010

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I swam with sea turtles, watched whales, experienced a full-fledged tsunami evacuation, snorkeled, boogie-boarded, hiked, and ate an ocean’s worth of fresh fish. But I didn’t send a single tweet, status update, or email.

I returned last week from a stunning 10-day vacation to Hawaii with my family and, after catching up on a week-plus worth of backlogged tweets and blog posts and emails, started thinking about unplugging. Or, more accurately, how unplugging affects your work when you finally plug back in.

I didn’t really plan to completely unplug. I actually didn’t give it any thought before I left. After all, especially this past year, thinking in terms of tweets and blog posts ideas and status updates was something my brain has grown quite accustomed to. Those brain cells were always ON.

Once arriving and really considering the importance and meaning of the trip (to celebrate my parents 30th anniversary, vacationing in a place they hadn’t been since my mother was pregnant with me, and finally experiencing one of my and my husband’s top wish-list destinations), it just seemed like the right thing to do. After all, if I WERE to unplug, what better situation would there be to do it? So anyway, without much thought, I left my laptop in the closet and (once I located the never-used POWER button) shut down my phone. (And let’s not confuse making a specific choice like this with laziness, like using vacations or holidays as an excuse. Do you agree?)

It was quick work to turn off the electronics, but a good 24 hours before I convinced my brain to stop thinking in tweet-speak.

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Awaiting our flights back east I turned everything back on, electronics AND brain cells, and boy oh boy, the ideas and inspirations came flooding in. It was as if turning everything off was only a conscious thing. Perhaps behind the scenes the entire time there was much blog-thought and tweet-speak going on without my knowledge. I was clear-headed, relaxed, and ready to get to work.

So, I think it was a good thing, unplugging. It didn’t seem to harm any of my efforts networking. In fact, it was fun to see many I connect with on a regular basis reach out in return while I was away. It was an awesome break, an even more meaningful (and beautiful) trip, and now that I’m home, a great motivator. I’m clear-headed, full of ideas, and reassured to know that, if you have to temporarily unplug, the world will go on. Your business, too, will go on.
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So, what say you? Do you think it’s important to unplug once in a while? Do you think it’s a laziness thing or a conscious choice? If you have unplugged before, has it set you back, or have you been able to pick back up with things?

P.S. I did send a couple tweets on tsunami day, to notify everyone that we had evacuated and were out of harms way. However, I argue that that doesn’t count. :) Thank you so much if you were one of the kind, thoughtful dozens that contacted me to make sure we were ok!

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