If you’ve been following the #OffMode series, you know that most people struggle with a lot of stress, anxiety and depression, and most of it shares a common source – our digital lifestyles and unchecked information diets. #OffMode is all about cultivating a disciplined practice of strategic and mindful disconnects and power-downs.

Here are the previous parts for reference:

And in this fifth and final part of the #OffMode category kickoff, we’ll be covering 5 forms of #OffMode to help you digitally detox.

Here are some #OffMode starting points to consider:

1. A Quick Pause/Mute Button

Leave your phone and go for a walk for 10, 20 or even 40 minutes. If you can’t bear to separate from your phone, try putting your phone in airplane mode and setting a timer. This way you can bring your phone with you. And you can take solace knowing that there is an objective referee ticking down somewhere is comforting and allows you to not focus on counting the seconds passing.

You don’t have to go outside and you don’t have to go alone. I love mobile meetings with friends and we walk in parking lots, in malls, and on trails when and where we can. Your conversations tend to be more engaging.

2. Vacations to 3G

Go somewhere with slow or no broadband. Try AirBnB. You won’t have to go far to get out of your comfort zone, or the 4G coverage.

There’s a high cost to all that speed, and it is the hyperconsumption and information overload you’ve become accustomed to. Just like an all you can eat buffet on a conveyer belt to your mouth, our information diets require discipline. This doesn’t have to be difficult and can be fun. There are many things to do in the real world that serve you better and deliver less anxiety than your current digital habits.

3. Escapes

A true vacation to a far-off place naturally captivates your attention. Americans stack up a lot of unused vacation hours. And if you’re a digital nomad. Designate OffMode days to go explore where-ever you happen to be, and quench your thirst to fight boredom through off-screen means. Have an adventure.

4. Sabbaticals

There has never been a better time to take a break from social media than right now. It’s chaotic.  Feel free to declare a long break from any digital habit you please. You don’t need to delete anything, just stop logging in for a while, maybe a week, month or maybe, even a year.

I took a break from blogging, podcasting, and social media for 2 years. It was either that or pop. It was a much-needed move a desperation. I was that burned out and fed up and disconnected from my passion. Sometimes you need these kinds of breaks in order to have the time, energy and attention, get to the root of some of your real issues and their causes.

5. Unsubscribe & Eject

Contrary to popular belief, there is too much to do and see when you factor in everything on the web. One thing I constantly teach people is to make room in their life and work for growth by following a simple Heroik Golden Rule:

Cultivate that which truly serves you, and unapologetically hit the eject button on that which does not.

Less is Truly More

Make room in your life for the meaningful bits by discovering what is essential for you. If you follow societies’ prescription – you believe you can have it all, do it all, and be it all – whenever you want. This isn’t true at all. You have limited time on this planet and limited space in your garage. Don’t fill it full of stuff you just dabble in. Give the stuff you really love doing, more of the time and space to enjoy it. And when and if you become tired of anything, give it away or sell it to make room for the next thing.

The kayak in your garage is hard to appreciate when it’s buried under box upon box of who knows what. That book you’ve always wanted to write, ain’t going to write itself. And you’ll never have time when you’re obsessed with reading every piece of spam in your inbox, to have 0 unread messages (another game of fake Internet points).  So start unsubscribing and ditching things that aren’t serving your real goals and growth, and that honestly, you’re not serving that well either. It might be time to resign from a few boards or projects to make room for some much needed personal/professional growth and a better life.

What’s Next
In future posts I intend to share some field notes and adventures I’ve had in my own OffMode, more nuances, subtleties and master-hacks, as well as get into the details of how to use it and other tools strategically to maximize performance in business and life.  I hope you enjoyed the series. If so share it with someone, and leave me a comment.

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