The thought of this title put me in to a mini-panic about 2 weeks ago as I prepared for a whole week offline.
Completely unplugged from all things ‘internet’. No email, Facebook, Twitter, no accessing the internet by any means whatsoever. I was elated and nervous at the same time.
Many of you know that in addition to this website (which I love), that I also own a second website which is an amazing community of individuals, and I work with an online company that is doing some pretty awesome things. To say that I am online about 40 – 50 hours a week is accurate and, sometimes, an understatement.
In December, my family decided that we would be heading down to a family-friendly resort in Cuba for a week and we just got back this Sunday morning (posts to come). As soon as we bought our tickets, I began getting ready for my departure online. You see, it was important to me to be ‘there’ every minute of the day with my family.
Now, I know that not everyone is as invested in being online as I am, so some, or none of this may pertain to you, but for those of you who are like me and have ever thought about truly disconnecting; here is what worked for me.
Limit your load early
When we bought our tickets it was three weeks before our departure. I slowly stopped taking on extra projects. Increasing my workload at this time wasn’t fair to me, or to the companies and brands I work with. No one likes rushed work and it shows when a post is thrown up just because it ‘needs’ to get done.
Certain items like blog posts, Facebook posts, and Twitter can be scheduled for certain dates and times. This can keep interest and conversations going while you are away. To schedule a post in Facebook, just see the image below. Scheduling posts in Twitter can be easily done by downloading TweetDeck. Note, if you do this, it is a good idea to also do the next tip.
Ask for help
I enlisted the help of two amazing women to help me with tasks on two different sites. For the site that I had scheduled content on, I just had it monitored to make sure that our scheduled posts didn’t spark a great conversation that we would be missing out on. I sent a list of my scheduled posts and what they were over, and then the social networks were monitored.
For my user-driven site, I had put together a manual and stuck with the basics for maintenance. For anything that couldn’t be answered right away, I asked that they just mention my date of return to work and I could help on my return.
This worked amazingly well on both sites and I am so thankful that I had this support while I was gone. (Thanks Betty and Cathleen).
Notify timely contacts
If you are working closely with anyone or any company at the time that you are leaving, it is extremely helpful to let them know that you will be out of town for awhile. This way, if they send an email asking for urgent info, they aren’t all of a sudden hit with an automated reply and are left in the lurch.
Out of Office
There are many ways to let your contacts know that you are away. I was able to set an out of office through both my hosting company and my gmail account so anyone wanting to contact me would know I was away. Just google ‘out of office’ and whatever system you are using ‘gmail, hotmail, outlook, etc’.
The day that we left, I wrote a Facebook note to my friends, then shut the computer down, walked away, and left my laptop at home. We arrived in Cuba in the dark at 3:00 in the morning and when we went to sleep that night, I still felt connected. My mind was online and I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to remove myself and unwind.
The next morning, we woke up to this view.
What’s an internet?
Spending one on one time with my family was absolutely the best thing I’ve done in awhile. Our important tasks of the day were walking on the beach, collecting shells, playing in the many pools and burying my girls toes in the sand and watching them giggle as they broke free.
Preparing ahead of time gave me the luxury of letting go of my online world for a week and I loved every minute of it.