FREELANCING / OCT. 15, 2014
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How to Make Some 'Offline' Time and Stick to It

Sometimes, we all need to unplug. But many of us have developed the habit of being online, which can make disconnecting pretty difficult. Sure, you can set a time to log off and enjoy some alone time with a book, but making yourself stick to it can be tough. So try these simple tips to stick to your offline time.

Leave work at work

If you have a separate work phone and find yourself constantly checking email and answering calls, consider letting your co-workers know when you leave every day, and then leave your phone at the office. Locking it in a desk drawer is a surefire way to leave your work at the office and take the evenings to yourself.

This is, of course, not a good idea if you’re on call or expected to be available during evening hours. If you’re unsure, consider asking your boss first.

Try an app

If you work from home and find that you’re often distracted by the temptations of the Internet, consider installing some browser extensions that block certain social networks during a set time of the day. For instance, you can block access to Twitter and Facebook from 8 AM to 4 PM so that you can get all of your work done without getting distracted.

Lock up your devices on the weekends or on vacation

If it’s the holidays or you’re planning on going on vacation, consider locking up your laptop or tablet and leaving it at home. When you physically cannot access email and social media, there’s no way to break the commitment to yourself. Plus, you won’t have to pay any roaming charges if you’re traveling abroad, and you have fewer items to worry about while you travel.

If it’s the weekend and you’re looking for some quiet time, try locking up devices in a place where you won’t normally look, or even give them to your significant other or friend (remember to only give devices to people you trust!). This can help you enjoy a quiet Saturday with a book or at brunch with friends.

If you’re still suffering the addiction, consider changing passwords

Though I would only recommend doing this if you have a safe place to store them for later, sometimes changing your passwords to obscure words and phrases can keep you from logging in when you’re supposed to be enjoying family time or working. If you’re especially bad about the habit, consider having a friend change your passwords--but remember, changing a password often requires access to the account, so be sure you trust your friends with your personal information.

Disconnecting is sometimes the medicine we all need around the holidays, on the weekends, or even just in the evenings. Disconnecting can help us feel a little more in control of our time and more aware of the things--and people--around us. Try is this holiday season and let us know in the comments below how well these methods work for you, or any suggestions you have to those trying to break the link!

Image courtesy of iStock.

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