Unplug and Be Present

Chances are, your world has been upended over the last week, and you are certainly not alone. With much of the world adjusting to life with COVID-19, daily life has changed dramatically. You may be walking around near-deserted streets for your work, working from home with kids bustling around you, or feeling alone and looking for connection. Needless to say, life has changed for everyone.

With so much changing so quickly, we’ve all been reading and hearing more information (and misinformation) than we’re used to. Our brains, which even 40 years ago would not have had to handle 24-hour news, email, social media, and constant interruptions, are suddenly even more overloaded with information about what’s happening throughout the world. Are you finding it hard to work under those circumstances? If so, this week’s tip might help.

As a writing technique, screenwriter and author John August (writer of one of my favorite movies, Big Fish) firmly believes in what he calls “#writesprints” – turning off the internet for 60 minutes and going all in on writing – or whatever else it is you’re doing. As a writer myself, I have taken up his invitation to join him on many of those writesprints, and it feels empowering – especially during this time – to shut out the usual distractions while knowing that others are doing exactly the same thing at the same time elsewhere in the world.

This week’s tip:

Unplug and be present. Take each hour at a time, and set one or two specific times each day when you will check the news. Otherwise, disconnect and do whatever it is you’re doing. If you’re working, take it in 60-minute sprints. If you’re spending time with your kids, devote that time to being with them as much as you are able. Keep your phone somewhere you can check for urgent messages once an hour if need be, and put it on do not disturb mode if at all possible for you. Whatever it is you’re spending time with – whether it be your projects or your kids – will appreciate your undivided attention.

Give it a try and let us know how it goes in our Facebook group! And if you’re having a hard time breathing deeply in this time of uncertainty, try following the animation below.

If you are at home with kids, I also suggest taking a look at this post full of resources and ideas on my wife Angel Jackson’s blog, Family Learning Adventure.

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Published by Ian Jackson

Ian Jackson is the founder of Building Bridges Leadership, which works with individuals, teams, and organizations to create authentic community in the workplace. He also writes children's fiction and teaches creative writing.

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