It's quite a simple process. This Friday, when you tuck in your chair, pack up your bag and prepare your mind for weekend bliss, also press that little button to disable your email function. (If this notion is new to you, here are some step-by-step instructions).
The concept -- fully disabling your email function -- is a scary one, but you'll be better for it: You'll return to work on Monday all set to be productive and engaged. As Drake Baer wrote in “Unplug Your Weekend Or Ruin Your Life,” when you detach from your work over the weekend, you’ll actually able to recover from the stress of your work week.
In order to reap the benefits of unplugging, you'll have to fully commit to deactivating this email functionality. And that might cause more separation anxiety than you'd care to admit. "We're addicted to that little notification," explains Gemini Adams, author of "The Facebook Diet" and creator of The Unplug Series.
So don't fool yourself by just "checking in" on a free Saturday hour. You'll be be hooked again. Without these pop-up interruptions, your brain will have the opportunity to gain the full benefit of spending face-to-face time with our loved ones, enjoying the great outdoors and petting a dog. You know -- the things you should be doing with your "free" time.
If you're nervous about missing something important -- that classic "old FOMO scenario," as Adams puts it -- there are a few things you can do to soothe your anxiety and establish some digital boundaries before you unplug.
First, remind yourself that you'll actually just be missing out on your weekend. Americans already get hustled when it comes to vacation time, so it's important we milk our days off for every last drop. That brunch will fly by and be anything but memorable if your head's buried in your phone and you don't pay attention.
Before you head home on Friday, try not to leave anybody hanging. Scan your inbox one last time for any out-standing emails with recipients who may be sticking around for your reply. Shoot over a quick note that explains you'll be responding on Monday. No apology necessary.
Be transparent about your choice to unplug."Each company has their own culture," Adams says, but it's important communicate these digital boundaries at work. Inform your coworkers of your choice to be off the work grid -- they'll be less inclined to wonder of you whereabouts. And who knows? They might even take your lead and do some unplugging themselves.
Consider adding your "shop hours" to your email signature. This is a simple way to let others know when you are and are not available. If you don't care to get into too much detail, adding some variation of, "I will respond to your email on Monday," is enough to assure others that they're not being ignored, just put on hold.
Don't dread Monday. Just because your inbox will have more unread messages than usual doesn't mean Monday has to suck. Remember -- you're going to be more productive today, so even if your unread count is in the triple digits, there's no feat too great for your ready mind to tackle. Start with a quick and easy email meditation. Then, designate a "cleaning hour" where you can sort and file what's important, and trash what's not. You'll likely come across several newsletters that you never really read in the first place. Take the extra time to unsubscribe -- these types of inbox crowders are merely distractions that pull at your attention. You'll be glad you made the extra click next week, when your mailbox doesn't appear as daunting.
When you're back in the office, check in with yourself. How do you feel? Did the world shut down, or did it spin without your email presence? Tell us your about your experience in the comments below.
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