5 Steps to Embracing an Unplugged Life


5 Steps to Embracing an Unplugged Life

 

About a year ago I gave up social media. I haven’t used any social platforms since.

Recently, I removed email from my phone. I now only access my emails when I sit down to work in my office.

And, last month, I learned how to do something which literally made my year: I learned how to send an ‘auto reply’ to text messages when I want to unplug.

I have stopped buying into the world of constant notifications and stopped bowing to the expectation that I need to be instantly available. I feel more freedom, presence and contentment in my life and I want you to, too!

One of the greatest keys to unplugging is adjusting the expectations of others and one of the greatest tools at our disposal to do so is using automatic replies that let people know when they can expect to hear from us.

Follow these steps to reclaim a day, a weekend or a week (or more) of unplugged time!

1. Auto replies: email

One of the first things I do when I want to actually take some time off (and not feel pressured to do ‘just a little bit of work’ during my break) is schedule auto replies for my emails.

Sometimes I even do this on weekends so that no matter what lands in my inbox, whether I see it or not, I can rest easy knowing my clients have been informed that I am unavailable.

If you’re an Outlook user, here are some instructions on how to use the Out of Office Assistant. If you use Gmail, try this out.

I have a few different email addresses and I adjust my auto reply message based on who contacts me at each one. My personal email has a more personal message. For my work emails, I generally write something like this:

“Thank you for your email.

I am out of the office and will be back August 13th. I will get back to you as soon as I can upon my return!

Thank you for your patience in awaiting my response,

Georgia”

2. Auto replies: Facebook messages

The one downside of auto replies to Facebook messages is that they can only be set for Facebook pages for businesses, not for personal profiles.

If you want to take an extended absence from your personal profile on Facebook, I recommend updating your cover photo and/or profile photo with a message that lets people know that you’re going to be gone for a while. This makes you more accountable to your goal of staying off the platform since you told people you were going to be gone!

As for setting auto replies for your Facebook pages for business, here are some instructions.

3. Auto replies: iPhone

This is by far the best thing I’ve learned to do with technology in a long time!

I quite often turn my phone off, especially when I take an extended holiday. In order to really reset and feel replenished I not only need to take a break from work, but sometimes I also need to take a break from being connected, period. Even to my friends..

I do however feel guilty when I shut my phone down and seem to be ‘ignoring’ people by not responding to them for days at a time. So, when I found this awesome iPhone hack that lets you set up auto replies to your text messages I was pretttty excited. Guilt-free unplugging coming right up!

I’ve crafted this auto reply:

“{Auto Reply} Hi! I am away on holidays and will be unplugged until August 13th. Thanks for your patience in awaiting my response!”

4. Change your voicemail message

I don’t know about your service provider, but mine offers the option to record a ‘holiday greeting’ and specify the date range during which I want it played. This is awesome when I want to take longer breaks and don’t want clients or friends to feel like I’m leaving them hanging. I usually record a message that let’s people know I’m on vacation and tells them when they can expect to hear back from me.

5. Shut your tech off and walk away

Once you’ve completed the above steps, the only thing left to do is shut down your devices and soak up the good life of unplugged, distraction-free, present time. It might take some adjusting to get used to life without the constant beeps, vibrations, likes and demands of connected life. But, trust me – it’s worth getting used to.

Let me know if you try these tips out! And, if you have others that help you unplug, share them below!

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