Every day I seem to hear about unplugging and getting away from work. There’s a pretty undeniable link between unplugging and the topic of work-life balance. There’s a little more to it than that though.
The question I think about often is if it’s necessary to fully unplug or if we can simply manage the struggle. Pulling a mobile phone out of your pocket is almost an addiction though, and I know humans don’t fend well against an addiction no matter how simple it is.
Some don’t give the unplugged situation much thought, others give it a great deal of thought and try to balance connected vs. unplugged. I’ve determined that it’s hard to balance even if you give it a great deal of though. What’s seen by me as limiting how much I’m plugged in can be seen as being very plugged in by another.
Sometimes it’s necessary to allow another person interpret how well we’re doing unplugging, preferably a significant other. I might think I’m doing a great job limiting how much I’m plugging in, but to others it may not seem so.
Prevalence Is Redefined
The presence of mobile phones has redefined what’s considered normal. What was unacceptable a decade ago is now seen by many as normal.
It’s common to see two people sitting at a table together both staring into their phones. The social dynamic between these two people is now more acceptable.
While it may not seem to be the ideal situation by most, it’s becoming more acceptable. Compared to 50 years ago, things may not have changed much. Rewind almost 50 years to the moon landing and it may not have been too uncommon to see two people sitting at a table each looking at a newspaper, or perhaps reading a book.
At any given moment in your day, no matter who you’re physically with, you have the world at your fingertips. Physically being with someone and mentally being with them has been redefined, they’re no longer mutual.
Everybody has their own way of “unplugging,” but there’s no one way of doing it.
If you take it literally then you’d be without TV, radio, mobile phone, Internet, computer, etc. When people speak of unplugging from work on vacation it rarely means all those items though, why is that? Is it because the mobile Internet is so pervasive in our life and connects us with work in addition to entertainment whereas TV and radio only connect you with entertainment?
For me unplugging does not mean unplugging the Internet, it simply means unplugging work, but then vacation isn’t the only time I unplug. When my normal working hours are over, I’m typically unplugged from that job. I do many other projects outside my day job so I don’t ever unplug from work, just my day job.
How do you unplug? What extent do you go to to unplug during your day, weekends, and vacation?