How to Unplug for the Holidays

Are you taking time off for the holidays this year? I am — and what’s more, I’m going to try my absolute hardest to unplug myself from the constant state of connectivity I’m usually in so I can sit back and enjoy some of the finer things in life. Y’know: The things that don’t involve texting, or emailing, or Reddit, or whatever. I’m flying out to visit my family (including my brother and his wife and their brand new baby girl, which is super duper ridiculously exciting tomorrow), but while I’ll have my phone with me and the Internet will be accessible if needed, I’m leaving my laptop — gasp! — at home.

This is both enormously exciting, and absolutely terrifying.

Luckily, though, Fast Company’s 29th Floor has put together a video just for me (and everyone else who’s in this boat with me). In it, Kate Davis, Fast Co’s leadership editor, shares her best tips for unplugging completely during the holidays — and she actually makes it sound almost easy. Sure, it’s going to require some planning, and yes, there’s also a good deal of self-discipline involved; but taking just three relatively simple measures will give you some much-needed time off from the craziness of the world.

So go ahead. Put your smartphone away and unplug your computer. You deserve a break. Scroll down for the whole video.

1. Set expectations for everyone and make sure they’re clear.

When I say “everyone,” I mean everyone: Yourself, your boss, your clients, your friends, your family — anyone who might conceivably get in touch with you. Decide beforehand when you’re going to be away, how long you’ll be away for, and what your level of connectivity will be during that time; then communicate your expectations clearly to everyone who needs to know what they are. Setting the expectation a little higher than it actually will be might be a useful strategy: If you set the expectation that you’ll be totally unreachable until you get back, that it’s likely that fewer people will try to get in touch with you (and it’ll make it much easier for you to unplug in the process).

2. Filter your email inbox.

Davis mentions an extreme strategy that involves setting any incoming emails to be deleted automatically; you can also, however, simply set them to file away in a folder out of sight. Then you can deal with them all when you get back from your time away.

3. Limit your smartphone access.

Visiting someone? Leave your phone at home. Just chilling out at home on your own? Turn the thing off off and put it in a drawer in another room. For a more long-term solution, you might even think about ditching the smartphone entirely and reverting back to a flip phone. Fun fact: Not all Millennials are tapping away at their smartphones phones all the time; a lot of them have purposefully stuck with their seemingly ancient flip phones purely to escape the slave-to-our-technology effect smartphones tend to have on us. Maybe they're onto something.

Watch the full video below. Happy unplugging!

Images: Jhaymesisviphotography/Flickr; Giphy (2); LOTR/Tumblr