DIGITAL DETOX: Do you need one?

by | Aug 12, 2020 | Personal Development

After a long pause, I am happily back in your browser. I am back from my summer holidays, well-rested and full of energy, dreams, and ideas 😊

During Corona times, April – May, there was a natural drop-down in business activities and so was it also in my recruitment business. But then suddenly there was a huge peak in June and all processes which were on-hold due to Corona got reactivated and I got even new assignments. That meant that the whole of June and July I “worked my ass off”. Long days and hours. And I wanted to finish most of the assignments from my side before my holidays, to make sure that I can enjoy the time off.

And even though I always had this intention, I never really managed to be totally on holiday and not working. I always had a phone and laptop and always had some small issues to resolve or finish. And it has never bothered me, really.

I always heard from some of my colleagues how they never read work emails during holidays, how they totally disconnected.

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There are more and more retreats where they require you to hand over your phone and you stay for 2-4 weeks totally disconnected from everything and everyone. And while I never tried it before, I assumed it would be easy for me, I am not dependent on my phone (at least I thought so 😊 )

A week without a phone

But this year I had an interesting experience.

We rented a caravan and traveled through northern Finland and Norway. I had used my phone as a navigator. Suddenly I needed to brake heavily, causing my phone to fly all the way through the whole caravan. The screen was totally broken. My phone was black.

It was interesting to observe my own feelings. It went from anxiety to total peace.

First I got very stressed about the fact, that IF someone needs something, they will not be able to reach me. I had an out of office message saying, that I am not reading my emails regularly and if something needed my attention urgently, I could be reached by text. BUT the phone was broken and I could not change that message. And I did not have my laptop with me.

So I started to think of all the projects that I had ongoing and speculate if some of my clients may need my help. What if candidates need something? What if some interview schedule needs to change? What if ….?

What if I am missing something important?

And since I am known for quite prompt replies, those “what if…” scenarios did not add to my mood.

The first day was filled with anxiety. On Day 2 I received two messages on the phone, I heard the sound, but could not read them. OH MY GOD….-who can that be? Is it from a client? A candidate? Is it related to my flight ticket next week?

I can tell you it did not feel good at all. You hear the message, you know you are receiving them but just can’t read them. Uuuff…..

Day 3 was a Friday and again I received one message, hoping it would be none of my candidates as that day there were several interviews booked for my client.

I felt guilty and hopeless that I could not do anything.

It took a while to embrace being disconnected

Day 4 was a Saturday. Suddenly I was relieved that I can take the pressure off since business shall not expect me to reply on a Saturday. This day I actually enjoyed a lot the fact that I can’t read anything, not emails, nor social media and no pressure.

On Sunday I started to like the feeling that I CAN NOT follow. I started to think that it is actually quite nice. Its been a shift in my own head and I started to think I deserve not to be available.

Sunday we arrived back home and had just one day to repack for another trip, as the next day we flew to Slovakia to visit my family. So I did not have time to go to any phone repair and traveled the next day still with a broken phone.

Again that ugly feeling, what IF Finnair will text me or email me new instructions or something when I am on my way? How will they reach me?

It is unbelievable how phones became a necessity for our daily lives.

Traveling without a phone

It felt weird to travel with a printed boarding pass and a not functioning mobile phone. But this time I took my laptop and connected at the airport and stayed calm .-)

Do you think I repaired my phone right away in Slovakia?

The first day the shop has been already closed. The next day they told me that they have to order the screen and don’t have it in stock. I had to wait for yet another two more days and my phone got repaired on Thursday only.

But this week I was already having my laptop at least.

It was a very interesting experience for me, to be with a broken phone for a week.

We are more dependent than we think

Before this week I would have claimed, or even “put my 2 hands into the fire” saying that I can manage well without a phone. I was sure I was not dependent on the phone, nor social media like the younger generation. But I did not realize or did not want to see how dependent I am on serving others quickly.

Why and where this is coming from may be the topic for my coaching session next 😊 Is it just a bad habit I fostered for a long time? Is it something more than a habit?

How would it be for you? What do you think? Have you ever tried being without reading your emails for a longer time? ( Longer than 1-2 days?)

What emotions did you have?

How did you manage it?

Let us know by commenting on LinkedIn. It would be great to hear from others too and perhaps learn and inspire more people to try it out.

With passionate regards ,-)
P.S. If you like this post, feel free to share it with your friends! You find the sharing buttons on the left side of the screen. And you will find more exciting posts like this also on our blog.

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Lubica Kangas

The Author

Lubica Kangas is a trusted Executive Search Partner for senior-level recruitments across different locations worldwide. Her long-term clients are global public listed companies, as well as smaller and growth organizations with international business.

As she is a great example of “loving what you do”, she also teaches and coaches individuals in their career transitions for doing more of what they love and have more fulfillment in their lives, mostly through her workshops and online programs.

On a personal note, Lubica is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and never-ending optimist with love for good food, travels, Latin rhythm, and nature.

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