How I Unplugged and Lived to Tell About It

Earlier this month, my wife Gail and I took a much-needed vacation. We rented a house on a lake in the mountains near Monteagle, Tennessee. We were there for two weeks.

On the Deck at Monteagle, Tennessee

After my book launch and our daughter’s wedding, we were both feeling the need to get away. We wanted a place where we could rest, reconnect, and refill our spiritual and emotional tanks.

As a prerequisite to this time away, I decided to completely unplug from e-mail and social media. I wanted to experience a complete “digital detox.”

The evening before I left:

  • I deleted all the social media applications from my iPhone. This included HootSuite, Google+, and Facebook. I planned to simply reinstall them after my vacation.
  • I disabled all my e-mail accounts except for one. I set up a special “urgent” account that my colleagues could use in an emergency. If there was something I needed to see, I instructed them to text me, then send a message to this account.
  • I made an announcement on my blog. I told my readers that I would be offline in order to set their expectations.
  • I set my out-of-office messages. I did this on my e-mail accounts and also in my Twitter bio. I let people know that I was on vacation and offline. I gave them instructions about what to do if there was an emergency.
  • I closed my social media pages in my web browser. This took discipline, because I still wanted to have access to the Internet for reading and research. Thankfully, this didn’t prove to be a problem.
  • I gave authority to my team to act in my absence. I gave them the perimeters and told them I would support any decisions they made while I was away.

Being unplugged went surprisingly well.

During the first twenty-four hours, I found myself compulsively starting to check my e-mail and social media accounts. I often do this when I am waiting for anything—stopped at a red light (I know, I know), standing in line, or in between projects. But I caught myself, didn’t check, and eventually stopped checking.

Almost immediately, I saw my attention span increase. Gail and I spent every morning being quiet, reflecting, and journaling. We did a lot of reading. I didn’t feel the usual hurry-up and-finish pressure I experience in my normal life.

Gail and I had several incredible conversations. Without the distraction of e-mail and social media, we were able to focus and dive deeper in our discussions. We were really able to reconnect. We just enjoyed being with one another. (We also celebrated our thirty-fourth anniversary!)

Overall, I felt a huge sense of relief—kind of like when you are in a noisy restaurant and then step outside to a quiet night. I didn’t realize how noisy my environment had become. As the first few days passed, I felt the stress drain from my body and my psyche.

I did have one situation that required me to get back online for about twenty-four hours. As you may have read, HarperCollins closed its acquisition of Thomas Nelson. This required a board meeting and some follow-up calls. But it was soon resolved, and I went back offline.

My biggest take-away from these two weeks is that I need more margin in my life. This is something I’ve known for a while. I’ve even written about it. But I am determined to be more intentional about it.

Since being home, I have continued to journal every morning. I am also saying No to additional commitments, so I can make sure I have time for those priorities that matter most. I feel like my tank is full again.

If you haven’t ever deliberately unplugged for a specific period of time, I encourage you to do so. Even if you can only manage forty-eight hours, it’s worth it. Trust me, you need it more than you think. We all do.

Question: When was the last time you unplugged? What were the results? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://garridon.wordpress.com/ Linda Adams

    I “unplug” regularly.  I’m an introvert, and I actually don’t enjoy the cocktail discussions of Twitter as much as other people.  I understand the value of it for promoting myself as a writing, but if I didn’t discipline myself to go in and do it everyday, I could happily ignore it.  But I did notice that activity on the weekend went down a lot — it was harder finding conversations (and worse lately because a lot of the hashtags that I was using have turned into link spam for writers — more “noise”).  So on the weekends, I tend to do very little social media.

    And when I’ve gone to science fiction conventions, I’ve taken a netbook — which I’ve never hooked up to the internet.  I just use it for some quick writing.  I also went to Las Vegas on vacation for a week earlier than year.  No social media at all.

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    I know that I need a span of time to do this.  It may be in October during a few days of vacation that I do this.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Vacation is a great time to unplug. Helps you get the most out of your time away.

  • http://www.youthleadersacademy.com/ Rachel Blom

    I have three weeks of being unplugged coming up. I’ll be on camp the first weeks with the teens from our church and after that, we have two weeks of family vacation coming up. I’m definitely unplugging from all social media for those three weeks, I’m still on the fence about what to do with my blog though. I could repost old, great content (like you did) or just leave it be for three weeks as well. Haven’t decided yet actually.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I really think either approach will work. I suffered no adverse impact to my traffic.

  • http://www.charlielyons.ca/ Charlie Lyons

    I did the very same thing for a week last year while on vacation. I can attest to everything you’re saying here also. Thanks for the reminder. I’m going to do this again soon!

    Oh, and Happy Belated Anniversary!!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Charlie.

  • http://twitter.com/ryanccard Ryan Card

    Thanks for this post.  I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  I have a two weeks holidays coming up so I may have to attempt this.  I love technology and social media but it can really engulf your life.  

    Congrats on the anniversary as well!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      The irony is the more I unplug, the more effective I am when I AM online. We can’t write/speak/live/relate from an empty well.

  • http://twitter.com/LeadingEveryday Juan Cruz Jr

    The last time I unplugged was a couple of weeks while on vacation. And guess what? My team and everything else survived just fine without me. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      So, true. This is a revelation for most of us. Life goes on. The world keeps spinning on its axis!

  • http://chrisvonada.info/ chris vonada

    I try to think of “unplugging” in terms of a daily habit too… when I go to bed at night, or when I finish my workday I have been more disciplined about turning off the computer and other gadgets that link me to this www.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I think this is a great point, Chris. We can unplug some each day. During family dinner would be a great example.

    • Wendy

      My husband and I do this. Also, our kids are young and play sports, so at practice and during games, we are all theirs!  No work calls, no checking e-mails etc.  Pictures only.  Enjoying children only.  Laughing and juice boxes only. Jeremy is right too…unplugged family dinners are a must!

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    I was unplugged for several days during the big power outage on the Eastern seaboard in the summer of 2003. The result was that I had to throw out most of my food because my fridge had defrosted. 

  • http://www.healnowandforever.net/ Jodi Lobozzo Aman

    Yes, I unplug in big and small ways. I intentionally unplug on the weekends and during family outings during the week. On my last vacation, I totally unplugged for a week, it was awesome. But I cannot wait for a vacation or a weekend holiday to do this, I have to be consistent daily and unplug to give things in my present full attention. Thanks for this post!
    Jodi Aman

  • http://mauricefoverholt.wordpress.com/ Maurice F. Overholt

    I just got back from a vacation and I loved it.  Part of the reason I loved it was that I took my work email off-line.  I kept my others, but those are fun.

    While I usually try to unplug from work when I am on vacation (out of office messages, who to contact while I am gone, etc.), this was the first time I actually took my work email accounts offline and did not check them at all while I was gone.  I felt extremely refreshed and am very glad I did that.

    Now that I am back I am back into the swing of things and enjoying it.

    Unplugging is essential.  Thanks for the reminder!

  • http://www.growing4life.net/ Leslie A

    Great timing!  I have been thinking about this so much recently.  I find this compulsion to check facebook, email, and blog stats to be quite enslaving, but can’t figure out how to fix it!  As I am not going on a vacation anytime soon and I have to be on my computer everyday, it doesn’t seem possible to make a complete detox, but your post makes me think that I need to, at the very least, establish some guidelines for when and how often I should be checking my phone!

  • Agatha Nolen

    I just took an 11 day vacation to Upstate New York and for 7 of them I was at a silent, TRAPPIST MONASTERY, The Abbey of the Genesee. Now that is unplugged! I traveled alone, so know discussions with fellow retreatants! I like the idea of a “private retreat” from all electronics periodically; it allowed me to do lots of writing and best of all gave me private time where God could enter the space for conversation. One monk lectured that even reading was NOISE! It also teaches me discipline; I can survive without constantly checking my phone. It is important to have balance though and it sounds like you did…you HAD to participate in the Board meeting and did, but then unplugged 48 hours later. Great lessons here. Thanks, Michael
    Agatha Nolen
    http://www.agathanolen.com

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       That sounds heavenly!

  • Pingback: Links to Live Deliberately | Charlie Lyons()

  • Rick Theule

    Michael – Thank you so very much for the timely post. At the end of this week I will begin a two week vacation with my wife and two teenage boys. As the General Sales Manager of a mid size GM dealership, I’m not sure if this is possible, but I’m going to try my hardest to unplug. After going full bore for the past six months due to many changes in our management structure, I am on empty. Thank you for unplugging yourself and telling us all that it is possible.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      The key is in setting it up right before the vacation starts. Good luck!

  • D’Anne Hotchkiss

    Frankly, it’s been several years since I’ve be able to do this. We spent a lovely week sailing off the coast of Maine. I find that almost immediately my brain starts churning out great, creative ideas. Each one could take a year or five to see to completion if I could devote all my time to it alone! Nature abhors an empty to-do list, I guess. But it is a great way to feel recharged.  

  • Tracy

    Great post.  Unplugging is so important but so hard to do.  My entire family unplugged accidentally when we went on a trip out West this summer-we had no wi-fi or cell service.  It was wonderful and I cannot believe how much more rested you feel when you really let go.  I travel a lot and have noticed no matter where we go, most of my travel companions cannot unplug.  Even in Itlay when we were enjoying the valleys of Tuscany and my friend was posting photos in Facebook!  What people don’t realize is how much they are missing out by staying connected.   

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      That might be the only way for some of us to take the plunge. To do it accidentally.

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

    Thank you for your transparency Michael.  It has been years since I unplugged, but definitely need to do it regularly.

    I wonder if it is the constant inner feeling to be connected all the time that has so many of us feeling like we are always behind, always overwhelmed.  We never simply rest.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I think that is exactly right. We never get the rest our soul needs because we are always connected.

  • http://twitter.com/EditorJamieC Jamie Clarke Chavez

    I am so looking forward to doing this very thing when I go on vacation for 3 weeks in Sept/Oct. I. Can’t. Wait.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      It can be really  hard. Do you have any specific strategies?

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    When I took an internet “fast” I also experienced that initial compulsive checking. I actually put a note on my computer monitor that said NO INTERNET, so that when I wandered in the room during down time I wouldn’t check.

    With all the talk in the media recently about the internet, social media and addiction, I know this is on everyone’s mind. But I liken it to the same flap that was raised when I was a kid about watching too much TV, and later about  video game addiction.  Everything can be addictive, from media to food, alcohol, evening shopping. We must be intentional about our every action, about living. And we must stop trying to fill ourselves up with things, and realize that empty place is to be filled by our relationship with Jesus.

    Happy Anniversary to you and Gail. Glad you had the chance to kick-back (love the photo!) and have some time off. You have certainly earned it.

  • http://twitter.com/toddlohenry Todd Lohenry

    I curated your post for my blog, but at the same time I can’t help but feel that this might be just a little disingenuous. You’re a CEO, you have a staff, right? Didn’t they handle many of your potential interruptions?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      No, I’m not a CEO. I used to be a CEO, but now I have no staff, other than a part-time virtual assistant and some business associates who work on commission.

  • http://www.knittingtoday.com/ Lea-ann

    I unplugged shortly after you posted you were going to. I spent three days absorbing Platform and making notes and ideas about the future of my business.  Now I wish I had another three days to implement those notes/ideas. I have so easily slipped into past patterns of non-productivity. 

  • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

    My husband and I are celebrating our 4th anniversary next month (we are 30 years behind you!)…gives me some inspiration for our anniversary :)

    I wasn’t an internet/social media person until I started taking blogging seriously. Right now am working on a couple of projects that are keeping me plugged-in more than I’d like. Am re-working my schedules though.

    Thanks for this reminder!

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Congrats, Ngina.

      • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

        Thanks Jeremy :)

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Happy Anniversary!

      • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

        Thank you Michele!

  • olukunle alabetutu

    Internet technology on mobile has a lot of advantages. And so many disadvantages while it is a pleasure for me to know your blog  through the Internet and read one  or more new idea from you daily. It reduces human level of concentration. I could remember my first PDA it made me loose concentration because each time I will be expecting mail, remember I will like to check something on Google. I remember loosing it for one week it was hell for me. But I have started adapting to life without Internet distraction. Another time waster on the mobile is it capacity to play games.

  • http://twitter.com/ReginaMaeWrites Regina Mae

    This is one of my biggest struggles, and why I love cruises so much.  Once the cruise ship pulls away, cell phones quit working.  That immediately resolves the problem of obsessively checking my iPhone for updates to Facebook, twitter, email, text.  I choose not to pay for internet access on the cruise ship, so that takes care of getting sucked into my computer for hours on end.  It takes about a day to sink into the relaxation of not searching for updates from the world-at-large.  But I always come home refreshed and recharged, ready to face the world again!

    I haven’t figured out how to be that disciplined about unplugging outside a cruise ship, though.  The most I’ve been able to accomplish is shutting the iPhone off for two or three hours.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I like this aspect of cruising too, though I have only ever been on one cruise.

      • http://twitter.com/ReginaMaeWrites Regina Mae

        Cruising is my favorite way to vacation. You see a different port every day, there are enough activities to keep the whole family occupied, and honestly, my favorite reason is that you are unplugged from the rest of the world! :) 

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    Michael – I was really pleased to read your post today.  Every night I try to unplug and focus on my family.  It’s difficult because of long-term goals I have.  However, I know with two little ones and my wife I could jeopardizing our relationships.  A lot of us admire and look up to those who’ve gone on before us and have become successful.  Even the best of the best has to have limits, boundaries, and adhere to them.  Thanks for sharing your experience and practical tips.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good for you for setting boundaries and focusing on your family.

  • Sue Engelman

    I resonate with this so much, and needing this prompt to do this. I was planning on a 48 hour period of being ‘unplugged’ ..thanks for giving the practical tips on how to do it. I also loved your blog on what the internet does to the brain. You encourage me in so many ways Michael..thank you. Being a wellness coach, I emphasize health in eating, exercise, and mainly, the way we ‘think’. I love your posts that help in these areas and I pass it on to my clients. Thanks so much. Sue

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Sue. I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

  • Jviola79

    I know this may sound so silly but….I love the picture you posted. I have gone back to look at it & meditate on the picture. The serenity that is pictured there is a wonderful representation of what we will gain when our minds are calm for a bit & not so fragmented by activity. We become able to focus on that which truly matters. Or perhaps I should say, WHO really matters. Thank you for sharing this!
    “He leads me beside STILL waters.” 

  • Csherry05

    Thanks for the tip!  I will have to try this.

  • Bill Prettyman

    Michael, I agree that unplugging is very important to our spiritual health. Creating more margin is important to many areas of our lives as the frenetic pace most of us keep robs our lives of marfin, purpose and fulfillment. I have a book that may be helpful to your readers: Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson. Tha ka for reminding me of the importance of margin.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, this is a great book. I had my mentoring group read it last year.

  • http://missionallendale.wordpress.com/ Joey Espinosa

    Wow. That is incredible. Sounds like it was an awesome experience. I need to try to make that happen for myself.

  • Chris Campbell

    This is so true and needed. You have to take care of you if you want to be able to give your best. Good work this morning.

  • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

    Wow, I admire the discipline Michael. I handle PR for a mid-sized biotech company so I feel compelled to be tethered to the Internet since this particular industry is in a constant news cycle and state of flux. Honestly, checking out your site and those of other believers is a bit of a respite from secular demands.

  • http://www.wevival.com/ Jason Stambaugh

    The last time I went 24 hours without checking any kind of electronic media/messaging was on my honeymoon over 2 years ago. Unplugging for two weeks…impressive.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Jason,
      About time to try again? Unplugging—not the honeymoon! :)

  • http://www.love-laugh-learn.com/ Deanna

    Your comment, ” I didn’t realize how noisy my environment had become” is spot on.  My “internal” environment fills up quickly while I’m reading and participating online. 

    Thanks for sharing practical ways that we can unplug and recharge naturally. 
    Knowing that you survived helps too!  

  • http://therightvolume.com/ Samantha Livingston

    I’ve been feeling an angst signaling that I need to do this. I unplug at various times throughout the day–time with Jesus in the morning, an occasional nap or when reading a  book–but I think those moments don’t quite cut it like you’re talking about. Thanks for the great reminder. I feel an extended unplugged period coming…

  • John Jolley

    Very interesting conversation when combined with yesterday’s post. Thanks for initiating. There’s also growing research showing the negative effect “screens” have on child development.

    One admin question: how do you upload your profile picture for these comments? 

    Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You can do it in your Disqus account. If you don’t have one, you can register for free on their site. Many bloggers use this system, so you can track your comments across multiple sites.

  • http://lifelessonshopefaithlove.blogspot.com/ Vanessa Tachenko

    I’ve been unplugging once a week for 24 hours (Sabbath). You are the third blogger that I’ve read that is trying to unplug more… Perhaps God is trying to tell me something! :)

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       I think once a week is a tremendous discipline. I’m striving for the same. Great job!

  • Jjdanweb

    Great post! I recently took my daughter to a Daddy / daughter church camp for 4 days. No electricity, no cell service at all. It was such a blessing to connect with my daughter and get some hours alone as the church camp counselors kept the kids busy with crafts and games. I also realized how noisy life is and how we all need to truly detox from technology. I find myself really being able to fet balanced, focused and recalibrate my life. I will make this my yearly practice. I hope you do as well!

  • http://www.CareerCoachJeff.com/ Jeff Melvin

    Always good to unplug, I’ve 2-days coming up in September that my wife & I are so looking forward to!

    I really like the picture – it looks like a great place to be, especially in the morning.

    I appreciate you’re sharing, because it shows me that a person “can” unplug and reset their focus.

    Thanks!

  • http://hopestreetminisitry.org/ Perry

    i read one blog, yours. i have been wondering how you can healthily manage all you share you do which i assume is only a portion of what you do. it has actually caused me to pray for you on some level. thanks for answering my question.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for the prayer, Perry. I appreciate that.

  • Bethstoddard09

    What an encouraging post! I recently read an article (online, of course) about the deeper implications of our online addictions on our brains. The impact is huge, and not altogether positive. Thanks for his further inspiration to be more mindful of my time and my – yes, I’ll say it – addiction. Like you, I compulsively check my phone. At red lights. In line. In the bathroom….sigh.

    Thanks for sharing and nudging us towards health with your example!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    One thing that is really helpful is to look at what you spend on being connected. Smart phones with data plans, cable TV with 300+ channels you never use, and internet access really add up. The average family probably spends $300 to $400 a month on these luxuries. I’m really looking at alternatives to cut the expense.

    For example, I can make Skype phone calls for just a few dollars a month. Do I really need the smart phone?? Having a Google Voice number gives me a lot of options (voicemail, with email text). Can I actually make a phone call from my iPad at a Starbucks using WiFi and Skype? Would I be willing to give up cable and use an antenna and Apple TV? How about Netflicks for $9.95 instead of cable?

    About the only thing that is really necessary for most people is an internet connection and that can be had for about $35/month.

    Cut the connection… save money and your sanity….

    • Doug Harvey

      I actually did this when we moved into our new home but I burned my kids out on Netflix lol.  It lasted for 4 months before I got a basic cable package for them and once we got cable back, watching TV has never been the same for me.  I rarely watch anything anymore.

    • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

      John, my family and I ditched DirecTV and are only using Netflix and Hulu Plus. The only thing I may possibly miss is sports, especially Illinois Fighting Illini athletics. However, given what we’ve seen in the college football world and what some people will do to keep their jobs, I’m not sure I’m even going to miss that anymore. I’d much rather spend more time with my boys and attend a small-college game in our hometown where the players are more “students” than “athletes”.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This is really worth considering, John. Thanks for challenging the status quo!

  • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

    When I was in the corporate world I found I needed to take vacation in larger chunks.  If I took 7 days, I used the first 2 days to wind down and the last 2 days thinking about everything I had waiting for me when I got back. So I only got 4 real days of mental rest.

    When I took 14 days, I still used 2 days on the front and back ends as I did before, but I got 10 days of rest in the middle.  That was a huge difference.  

    Unplugging for that long also made me realize I was not as important to the operation of my business as I thought I was!  Everything did not collapse while I was gone.

    My dad used to say, “The sign of a good leader is what happens when he is not around.”  I hate it that dad is always right!

    My Dad— http://andersonleadershipsolutions.com/james-anderson/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      So true: we usually aren’t as important as we think.

  • http://twitter.com/joewickman Joe Wickman

    Thanks for the transparency Michael. I’m glad you pushed all the way through to assessing what needs to change on an ongoing basis upon your return.

    This summer I took the opportunity to do the same on my vacation to the lake. I cannot recall ever being more relaxed. I look forward to carrying the ability to unplug far into the future.

  • http://www.drmarisfaithstop.com/ Dr Mari

    Ah! Yes! You’re right. We all need it. I write about margin all the time because I need the reminder! What we sacrifice when we live so “plugged in” is, quite simply, everything that matters. We can’t hear from God and withdraw from our loved ones. The price we pay is way too high.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This is why I write about it so much. I am preaching to myself!

      • http://www.drmarisfaithstop.com/ Dr Mari

         I sometimes fear that I’ll never be able to recapture the “old me.” That contemplative young soul that could sit under a tree for hours with nothing but a pad and pen, my thoughts, God’s whispers, and nature all around to inspire me. I am constantly trying to get back there… and seem only able to visit briefly now. I think the answer is to be very intentional initially, until it starts becoming a habit and then simply a normal part of who I am again.

        Thanks for the opportunity to think about it again! Now I have to go DO it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/itsjoanne Joanne Sher

    I unplug for one day once a month. I LOVE it. It makes such a difference at BOTH ends. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I have that day to look forward to. And when I’m back I definitely feel better. Would love to try it for longer, but not sure, with my commitments (at least currently – as I just took on something new), I could do it.

    • Doug Harvey

      Is it just any particular day of the month (3rd of every month) or like the third Sunday or etc.?  The reason I ask is because I was wanting to know if you just did it at your convenience or if you are committed to daying it “x” day no matter what.

  • http://www.UnwillingToSettle.com/ Greg L. Gilbert

    In October of 2010 I went to a mountain cabin in Arkansas alone to write a life plan. 48 hours with nothing but spotty cell service, legal pad, pen and Andy Andrews Seven Decisions DVD. Is tarted by watching the DVD and then turned the pen loose on paper. What began as a life plan turned into an e book, My Life Appraisal. I took my HR experience and the thousands of appraisal I have seen and prepared the most important appraisal we can do in our life, the one on ourself. It was a very rewarding and productive two days. I didn’t even take a book to read in bed because that may have pulled me from my project. I learned years ago, we men do pretty much what we want to do. Unplugging is important. Everyone should read Henry and the Great Society. It’s available free as a PDF. See the difference in plugged in and unplugged. Congrats on the anniversary and thank you for what you do.

  • Geoff Little

    Michael is that pic of you?  It is worth 1,000 words.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it is. Gail took it as she stood behind me on the dock.

  • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

    First of all, belated congratulations on your anniversary! Thanks to Gail and you for setting such a great example for those of us earlier in our journey (my wife and I celebrated our fifth anniversary this spring). 

    After listening to your podcast yesterday, I immediately started to think about my own online use. Quite honestly, it disgusted me. I realized I was connected almost all of my waking hours. It really was hard to see just how badly I had fallen. Last night, I totally unplugged from 5-8 PM. I had a great time playing with my son. I did have one item I had to do from 8:15-9, but then I unplugged for the rest of the night.

    This morning, I didn’t check my e-mail until after I took my son to preschool. I can already tell I’m starting to focus a little more. It will be a long road, and I know I’ll have some bumps. However, I have the following three rules now.

    1. No checking e-mail until after the kids are at school. I read or listen to classes in the mornings.

    2. Total unplugging from 5-8 PM unless I’m teaching a class in the evening.

    3. Total unplugging in the hour before bed. That’s my time to read, journal, and talk with my wife.

    It’ll take discipline, but I’ll get there. It took some outside evidence to see how far I had fallen off the wagon!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good for you! I love it when people make these kinds of decisions!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Outside of Sundays, I haven’t disconnected in a while. While on a short-term mission trip in early July, I had limited access to the Internet but connected every morning to check email. I posted a couple of blog articles during my time in Alaska as well.

    I know my world is noisy, but it’s kind of like missing the sound of sirens while in the country. You just can’t quite sleep without the background noise.

    That’s true until you disconnect enough to appreciate the quiet.

  • Dkrickbaum

    We camp in the Colorado mountains throughout the summer.  I half-jokingly tell people that we drive until we lose the cell signal and park – not phone, no internet, no TV, often no radio.

  • Lori Lynn

    I gave up FaceBook for lent.  For 40 days I didn’t check or respond or even read the emails that they send.  It was FABULOUS!  Ever since then I’m so much more picky about the time I spend there.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Isn’t that the truth? In the early 90’s I gave up television for a year. I enjoyed it so much I’m not entirely sure why I went back. :) I think the initial days are the most difficult, when the addiction shows itself for what it really is. But once we break free, we feel a need to guard that new freedom.

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric Speir

    I unplugged during a week of vacation in June. It’s hard when your life revolves around relationships. I couldn’t fully unplug because of some previous commitments but I’m hoping I can on the next vacation. It just takes planning on my part. 

  • LizzyP

    I am excited to hear HOW you implement this back into your normal routine. I know I need more margin, but taking action on creating that is so hard to do – especially with demands of job and volunteer work (and the main issue is feeling that I HAVE to give 110% to each venture). I guess the problem is determining the definition of 110%. Choosing to let go of some of that control. But how.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      The biggest challenge is not finding the time, but having the intention and making the time. This really requires some big decisions about what you are no longer going to do.

  • http://www.tammyhelfrich.com/ Tammy Helfrich

    Thank you for this much needed reminder. I think we all need to unplug when we can.

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaLFletcher Angela L. Fletcher

    The last time I totally unplugged was August 2011.  I went to The Cove alone for a personal spiritual retreat.  It was peaceful and powerful.  Words can not adequately express how restorative it was for me.  It felt as if I had been holding my breath forever and I finally exhaled. 

    I turned off my phone when I pulled out of my driveway for the 3 1/2 hour drive and did not turn it on until I arrived home 3 1/2 days later.  During the time, I didn’t have access to the internet and I lived. :-)  It’s time to do it again; I REALLY need it.  Your post was heaven-sent!

  • http://www.moretobe.com/ Elisa Pulliam

    Love the example you mapped out here, which is similar to what I’ve done in the past.  It is so good for the soul.  I’m going to link it to a series on 100 Things I Want to Tell Teen Girls. Your example is priceless!  Thanks!

  • Rkpaulus

    About to unplug for two weeks. A little nervous. But I think my kids and hubby will love me for it! When it comes down to it, I’ll miss the cyber world more than it will ever miss me! *Reality Check! :)

  • Janet Vasil

    Great post about the need to unwind.  I unplug every Sunday..well,  in truth, almost every Sunday ;-).   I find I have to regularly break the mental cycle of “OMG, I must be missing something online” to get my creative mind reset for the week ahead.  A cold turkey week is my next frontier.

  • http://www.peaceforthejourney.com/ elaine @ peace for the journey

    I mostly unplugged last week while in the mountains with my family. I don’t have a problem with unplugging; my problem is plugging back in. Once I’m away, it’s harder for me to move back into a place of connection. My husband doesn’t do social media (beyond e-mail). He knows what a distraction it can be and has wisely chosen to set some boundaries around his time. This has been a good balance for me and has helped me with perspective.

    peace~elaine

     

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I understand. It’s been a little difficult for me to plug back into. It just doesn’t have the allure.

  • http://twitter.com/lifesurrendered Michele-Lyn

    Just moments before I read this post, I was writing a post of my own. It’s about why I am learning to take Sabbath rest. I am committing to being UNPLUGGED every Sunday, and every 7th week for the whole week. 

    This serves as tremendous confirmation. 

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

       Michele-Lyn, I began practicing sabbath just a few weeks back and it’s been both incredibly challenging and life-changing. I’ve been blown away at how it is like a reset button for both my body and my spirit. Something that has helped me out a ton has been Marva Dawn’s book, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I like this idea too. I may unplug on Sundays as well.

  • coachbillhart

    Phenomenal post Mike! Amazing planning, prep, discipline, and most importantly… result!

    The majority of my coaching clients are in the mortgage industry, and in a sub-4% interest rate environment, they are ping pong balls in a tornado.

    I just had a client tell me that he unplugged on his vacation last week and blogged on it here. Short and sweet, but huge (deeeeeep breath) victory. 

    LOVE that pic BTW – frame it and remember the feeling. Wallpaper maybe?    :)

    http://www.coachbillhart.com/2012/07/unpluggability/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Bill. I like your idea about the wallpaper. Doing it now!

  • http://www.jackiebledsoe.com/ jbledsoejr

    Great post! It is definitely something my wife and I need to do…soon!  Thanks for sharing Michael.

  • Bfield

    I read your blog before I went on vacation this Summer to Maine.  It convicted me to really give unplugging a try.  Each Summer we spend two weeks in Maine and I typically end up getting dragged into work far too often.  I was able to leave my laptop in my work bag for an entire week and not even check email or social media.  It was amazing.  Thanks for the idea!

  • TheGreatDanaJ

    This is inspiring. I have tried to limit my activity but it doesn’t work. Maybe a strategy like the one you laid out will work more effectively for me!

  • JordanEnglishKC

    I take at least 10 minutes (I walk down the steet and back) every night to unplugg. It’s not a long time but I feel relaxed by being unplugged for even that short time. Similiar to you I often feel rushed while reading or in a conversation. This short walk helps me to unwind, clear my mind, and reflect on my day. I am also a younglife leader so every year at camp we put down our phones for a week and it’s amazing how simply investing in the people rigt in front of you can be with no distractions.

    This post was very encouraging, thanks!

  • Jackie

    After your post yesterday about how the social media madness affects our brain, and this post today on unplugging…YOU HAVE INSPIRED ME GREATLY! I will plan to do this soon. In August. Thank you! — Jackie M. Johnson, author of “When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty” (Moody Publishers) and other books

  • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

    Michael, I really liked how you put the announcement on the blog, then gave your readers top posts to revisit or read for the first time. I remember Dallas Willard teaching us about solitude and reminding us that when we plan for solitude that we must make it a priority work out our time with those closest to us, especially our spouses and children. It’s easy to fail to do this when we take times of solitude as a last resort, when we are totally worn out. Being intentional, and planning things out honors the ones we love.

  • Danna

    It’s amazing how UNplugging actually recharges your soul! After my recent “big birthday” – we left the country for eight days and I became so accustomed to living without my smart phone that when I returned home, I found myself forgetting to turn it on in the morning or put it in my purse before leaving the house. Since returning, I’ve try to stay unplugged each morning – no email -texts – facebook – phone calls – until I’ve had a quiet time with God to reflect, journal and prayer. That’s the kind of plugged in I really need.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Great idea.

  • http://www.austinburkhart.com/ Austin Burkhart

    I plan on starting a regular quarterly retreat to unplug as well. I will also spend some focused time praying for the next few months and setting goals for myself. Anything else anyone recommends that I spend time on during this quarterly review?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You might take a look at my post on The Importance of the Quarterly Review.

      • http://www.austinburkhart.com/ Austin Burkhart

        That’s what sparked my own – thanks for the insight and I just got even more reading it the second time through

  • Doug Harvey

    I take a small vacation alone each year that is usually hiking and camping.  It lasts for a weekend.  I unplug and it feels great, I take my iPhone off airplane mode once I stop for the day and that is it.  I look in that “window” for that brief period of time?  Does anyone unplug fairly frequent?  I would be curious to know if short bursts have same effect as Michael’s two week sabbatical.

  • http://rmabry.com/ Richard Mabry

    I’m ashamed to say that even on a recent vacation (three days in San Diego to watch the Texas Rangers play), I paid the hotel $10 per day to have Internet access. But you’ve encouraged me, and I promise to cut my ties to the Internet the next time we’re away…even though I’ll probably go nuts wondering what I’m missing. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/abbysnews Abby Van Wormer

    since i got rid of my iPhone and facebook, i notice things more. i pay more attention to people, i can focus better, sleep better, worry less. i’m not always thinking about who’s going to comment on my stuff and who’s not. and people don’t need to know what i’m always doing or where i’m at or where i’m going. i’ve connected in a more personal way with close friends, instead of through a virtual environment. and i also feel closer to God.

  • CC

    I did the same thing for 45 days at the beginning of the year and called it a soul cleanse. I did so much, got so many things resolved. It is amazing how much time staying plugged in takes and how much time being unplugged gives you back. May do this again soon…

  • Bryan Brooks

    Thanks for the great post Michael! Love your site, huge fan. Appreciate your transparency on this post. Up until I went through an personal unplugging journey myself for a year, I had no idea how addicted I was to the technology in my life, how my technology habits impacted others (i.e. my relationships with my family and with God) and the importance of taking a break from it. Today, I dedicate one day a week, to being tech-free. I love it. It forces me to get a life and focus on the things that matter most. 

    “There’s power in the pause”, setting down the god of technology and living unplugged often brings back the beauty of life.

    Bryan Brooks
    blogger, technology coach, author
    e: bryan@techsabbathhabit.com
    w: bryansbrooks.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      “Power in the pause” … I like that.

  • KeithFerrin

    Couldn’t agree more Mike! That’s one of the reasons I have loved going on a cruise for a vacation. (Not willing to be the $3million-per-minute internet rates, so unplugging is much easier!) Ten unplugged days coming up the last bit of August. Can’t wait.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      That pricing will change your habits quickly!  Have a great trip in August, Keith!

  • wendy

    Our family (my husband and our two kids and my dad and his wife)  holds our annual tradition to camp at the beach dear to our hearts.  We invite friends, cousins, grandmas and aunts fly in from out of state.  We cook dinners, do dishes together and simply reconnect.  No one minds that the reception is horrible either! 

    We eat breakfast slow and enjoy coffee, we dress late, we play Frisbee with the kids.  We do what we want with our time!  Some years have been busy, enjoying the coastal attractions of boardwalks, parks and live bands at dinner, while others have been spent on the beach picking up shells and watching our kids run from the waves.  

    This year, however, was epic!  We were about 15 minutes out from home (on the way back) and I thought, I haven’t thought about, fretted over, or even wondered about work.  Not once. We celebrated 10 years of our tradition this year, and every one has been a blessing for sure!

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

       I  officially would like to be adopted into your family.

      • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

        Aaron,
         I was thinking the same thing, or at least visit over vacation! :)

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    Glad you had the chance to get away and unplug. Thank you so much for your transparency. It really means a lot. I’m wanting about 3 days to unplug and hoping I find a way to do it soon. 

  • http://www.carlsbadvillageortho.com/ CarlsbadVillageOrthodontist

    Well done on “unplugging”. At any moment, did you suffer any major relapse (sneak peek on your mobile)?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, a couple of times. It usually happened when I wasn’t thinking and just mindless checked in.

  • http://tinaannforkner.com/ Tina Ann Forkner

    I unplugged all June. I wasn’t quite as disciplined as you. I posted to social network sites only a couple of times. No blogging. I edited a novel and I only checked email from my literary agent. The rest of the time I spent with family and friends. It felt great and I’m really just recently diving back in. I felt closer to my family and more ready to start working when it was time. 

  • http://justinfalls.com/ Justin Falls

    This post, and your last, have had a deep impact Michael. Not because the social media hustle is new to me, it’s just been on my heart for some time now – it’s concerning. It seems the many apps and devices we use each day just end up overwhelming every aspect and relationship of our lives if we don’t intentionally unplug. I’ve started to create a habit of unplugging – daily. I started putting my iPhone in the top drawer of my dresser (out of sight) when I arrive home each evening. I also turn off notifications for social media apps like FB, Twitter, and Instagram. I notice this cuts down on the distractions! 

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      The important thing is that you are intentional about disconnecting.  Good for you, Justin!!

  • Peeledonion

    Very nice read and great that you spread this! A good online/offline balance is a must for our psychic equilibrium!
    All the actions you took were clear symbols for the mind to agree to calm down and leave space for YOU to live.
    I am fortunate to live by a lake in Zurich, CH and in the summer I jump in the fresh water after work; this is a shut down signal to the mind.
    But during the day mails and meetings just swallow me so every now and then I free my calendar and work from home, shut it all down to bring clarity in my work!

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

       I’m completely jealous :) Part of my strategy during the day is to take a walk along the South Platte river behind my office, and every day I just want to jump in. Last year the water was really high, so one of my professors and I would change up during lunch and tube the river. Keep jumping in the lake!

  • Darla Kaarre

    We run a non profit outdoor ministry where retreat participants are required to give us all their watches, electronic devices, cell phones etc.  Their adventure retreats are anywhere from 3-8 days and they have NO contact with the outside world.  They are totally unplugged up here in the Northwest corner of Montana.  One staff member checks for emergency messages  or emails once daily after everyone is tucked in for the night…or sitting around the campfire reflecting, discussing or journaling!  In fact, we just returned said devices to 23 participants yesterday morning before they hopped on a train back home.  We always to a debriefing before they reenter the noise of the world.  This time we needed to tell them about the major news story of the shootings in Colorado.  They were most likely the last people in the U.S. to hear about this story.  Unplugging is essential for people I believe in order to learn to listen.  We love the whole idea!  Thanks for your wonderful articles.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      What a great ministry, Darla!  I’m sure you’ve had to develop a thoughtful “re-entry” program.   Very cool…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This sounds fabulous. What a great ministry!

  • http://levittmike.wordpress.com levittmike

    Great reminder to us all, that we need to disconnect.  It’s getting harder and harder, especially with State parks and other isolated areas introducing WiFi access.  Thank you for the inspiration to disconnect!

  • HeatherGoyette

    I unintentionally became “unplugged” last month when I had to go out of the country on business. I think my hand shook for the 1st two days without it’s smart phone extension. I phoned home using calling cards (who knew they still exist!) and my colleagues and I had to actually make concrete plans such as the exact time we would meet for dinner (no texts!). We even resorted to handwriting messages and slipping it underneath each other’s hotel room door! It really made me realize how much I do rely on technology.

    The worse part was when I returned home. The amount of messages, emails, texts, blog stats, vms, etc., etc. that I had to plow through was immense!

    This past weekend I was again without cell service during a short family vacation. A word of advice, if you do plan to unplug make sure your mother knows so she does not think you are dead!

    This

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      LOL re: mom!  My mom just got a Facebook account but she is a texting machine!  She probably WOULD think I was dead if I didn’t respond to her texts!

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

       I hear you loud and clear, Heather. My big unplug times are usually backpacking trips and the key thing has been to leave an itinerary. Part of it has been to give family a sense of comfort in knowing where I am. But another piece so that search and rescue would know where to go if I got into trouble. Oh, the things we need to do just to unplug.

  • Candace M Lewis

    Thanks Michael for the practical things to do when unplugging… dont think i automatically would have uninstalled the apps… great suggestion… hopefully i can get some real uplug time in this fall…

  • http://www.attorney2pointoh.com/ Tracy Thrower Conyers

    I’ve done mini unplugs and seen amazing results. I can’t wait to use your roadmap for a real two week unplug. Thank you for sharing!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Glad the content was helpful, Tracy. 

  • http://www.themakegoodchoicesproject.org/ Michael Hawkins

    Michael – First: CONGRATULATIONS to you and your wife on your 34th wedding anniversary.  That is so awesome.  My wife and I recently celebrated our 25th.  Kudos to BOTH of us (and our heavenly wives).

    I have a hard time un-plugging.  And even though it sounds like the right thing to do, I have yet to do it.  Your post has encouraged me, so there is hope!

    Like you (shame on both of us) I mess with my iPhone at red lights.  What a terrible habit that is.  We both need to stop that — like now!

    Thanks for the post.  And I’m so glad your vacation was a good one.

     

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Michael – Great comment.  I am unfortunately with you and Michael on checking my phone at red lights.  

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Me too—red light guilty!

  • Derrick Garland Coy

    Hi Michael, I have nominated you for The Reader Appreciation Award because I really enjoy following your blog posts. Blessings to you, brother. You can see details about the award on my blog at http://dgcoy.me

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Derrick.

  • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

    I haven’t unplugged for awhile.  When I do, I go to the extreme and give up everything, cell phones, internet connections, email accounts, the works.  That’s getting harder and harder to do, especially as a writer.  Someday, when my book sales reach more successful levels I’d like to live off the internet grid and get back to the outer net and physical life.

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

       Dan, have you found any less extreme ways to disconnect and reconnect?

      • http://www.danerickson.net/ Dan Erickson

        Leave the phone and computer at home when I travel, but my Mac Air makes that really hard to do.

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  • http://twitter.com/LeadingGodsGen Michelle Eichner

    Just unplugged for a few days while my husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. It was very refreshing! Thanks for the reminder to create margins and not let the “noise” of everyday life become overwhelming.

  • Joan Detrick

    I unplug every Sunday and enjoy a quiet afternoon (after church) of reading, sometimes napping–just re-creating!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Re-creating is a great word for that time of rest!

  • CGreene801

    Michael,  Congrats on 34 years!

    Just a quick crowd-sourced edit:  It should be parameters, not perimeters.

    I love reading the blog and keep up the good work!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Good catch!

  • Chad Jackson

     He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Love that verse. So powerful. So essential!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Good one Chad. 

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Chad,
      I would like to admit how difficult this seemingly simple passage is for me to execute. It sounds easy—but not so much.

  • Adewale Olaore

    I did unplug a few weeks back and the results has been amazing. Off course, my phones were turned off and I was disconnected from the internet for just three days. These 3 days had an impact that I will forever remember, two other things that happened apart from my renewed commitment to fellowship with God was, 1. I got a few new clients immediately I was ending the retreat and a few days later, I got a new job. It was indeed awesome.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Adewale – 

      That is great! 

  • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

    Michael – 

    The biggest takeaway for me on the post is creating margins.  I love sabbaticals and believe in taking as many as possible. However, we all know they are not easy to schedule.  The idea of creating margins is a daily practice.  I think we could plan mini sabbaticals each week.  

  • http://www.authorpeterdehaan.com/ Peter DeHaan

    Last year I went on a 24-hour prayer retreat and was unplugged. It went so well, I wished I scheduled the retreat for 48 hours instead. I intended to repeat that once a quarter, but wasn’t successful. I pledge to do better in the future.

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  • http://www.momentsofgracelotr.com/ Anne Marie

    I do this most on weekends when in the good weather I am out on my balcony for hours. It’s like being at home and on holiday at the time as Sam Gamgee remarked about another wonderful place. And it’s free! I am blissfully clueless about what is happening in the world, which goes on as it ever has and I am happy for not knowing about it. It really recharges my batteries to be alone.

    God bless, Anne Marie :)

  • Amy K. Sorrells

    I announced online last week I was going offline for a month, but I’ve cheated a little. Okay, a LOT. I had guest posts and scheduled posts and even though I knew I didn’t HAVE to check them, I did anyway. So frustrating how tasty social media can be, and how quickly it can turn into a sort of time-distorting obesity, of sorts. My favorite idea of yours here: Deleting apps of my I-everything. Brillian!!! So now, for the remainder of these three weeks, I’m seriously, totally, and REALLY going offline. (Hopefully I’ll shed a few unwanted, margin-steaing pounds in the process.) Thanks so much for this important and convicting post!

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    I know I need to unplug more frequently when I “park” my phone as I come home from work, so that I can be engaged with my wife and kids, and I still feel it vibrate in my pocket. The ghost vibrate—am I the only one? 

  • http://www.williamsjim.com/ Jim Williams

    It’s been a while since I completely unplugged. I remember that it was a nice quiet time. Everywhere I look and everywhere I read it seems that God is telling me to ensure I take a day of rest and unplug regularly.
    Thanks for this post!

  • John Habib

    Love the post!  I am reminded of a podcast on Conciliar Press where you talk about how your wife enjoyed some unplugged time at a monastery, and I think about all those Christian monks out there, especially the hermits, who are able to quiet the world so much that they can find God in the deep recesses of silent prayer of the heart.  May God give us that same peace and more.  

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    I used to unplug starting 6 pm every Friday evening until 6 am Monday morning. One of the best disciplines I’ve ever established! Unfortunately, I’ve gotten away from it lately, and it shows. I’m just not wired to stay engaged 24/7. I need quiet and a less-stimulated environment to refuel. When I realized this earlier this week, I decided to block off tomorrow through Monday morning for a detox. Looking forward to it.

    • http://amysorrells.wordpress.com/ Amy K. Sorrells

      I used to do that, too. Called it my “e-free weekends.” I’m going to have to re-initiate that habit, for sure. Detox, indeed, especially for those of us who are poster children for introverts. It’s just not healthy for us or those we llove and live with to be “wired in” all the time. Enjoy your weekend!

  • http://www.accidentallygreen.com Hilary Bernstein

    I unplugged for a week this summer, and it was amazing. I didn’t know if I’d be tempted to check my social media accounts, but I completely enjoyed the time with my family. I couldn’t believe how much more I was able to relax. Of course, I’m happy to be online again, but I want to plan for another week off next summer. Glad you were able to take a two week break, Michael!

  • http://www.theworld4realz.com/ Andi-Roo

    I think on my hubz’ next vaca, we will spend some time in a cheap-o motel room, still close to home so we can be near the kids in case of emergencies, & to save on gas / travelling costs. Even a weekend unplugged would be nice. We need some quiet time to just chat & hang out. Thanks for the reminder to make this an intentional activity rather than a passing fancy! :)

  • Sue G.

    I unplug while on vacation, mostly because I don’t have the fancy traveling tools that others have that would keep me connected. I don’t have a laptop or a tablet or smart phone, so unplugging while away is easy for me. The funny thing is that I don’t miss it at all! I am very much in touch while home and at the office but when I’m away I don’t feel the need to stay connected. My spirit is full of the new experiences around me and I even think that connecting with my regular world would spoil things. I recommend it wholeheartedly. 

  • Keys_rule_7

    It’s so true what you said!  Sometimes we feel we can’t live without these ‘toys’  but when we unplugged we realized these are just some thrill we can go without and it does us so much good.   I did that couple times and I found that when I did, my quality of my life was even better.  If I want to keep up with this quality life I just need to learn to moderate my use of the internet and learn to unplug when it’s time.   

  • dawnMHSH

    Sometimes I unplug a little bit in one area or another if I’m feeling burned out. I think being deliberate and intentional about it, like you did, would be an even bigger help. It’s crazy to think that we’ll miss out on something or become obsolete if we take a break. It’s just necessary sometimes.

  • http://www.spch.org.au/ Bren McLean

    Congratulations on the ‘unplug’, that seems to have been so rewarding for you both.
    Like many people today, you could be suffering from ‘infobesity’, the addictive need to consume too much unimportant bits of information :-)
    Only times of fasting like you have had can cure us!

  • Briank Ives

    Looking forward to going on vacation in a few weeks, hopefully I can unplug and gather some fresh thinking.

  • Michael Rodgers

    During my one vacation this year I totally unplugged.  I only turned my phone on 3 times to either make a call to confirm availability to our next destination and  just to check messages (mind you I have a “dumb phone”; I can only make phone calls).  No Ipod, laptop, or other devices. My countenance and mood were so relaxed, even my kids commented that they wanted to keep the vacation going (and still are after a month) because I was totally plugged into them

  • http://www.billgraybill.com/ Bill Graybill

    For 11 years we have taken 3 weeks in March in Florida. Different degrees of disconnect and one year I started writing my book. What a mistake. Never again.

    I ride my bike 25-30 miles each morning, walk the beach in the afternoon. Basically I get bored and stay bored for 3 weeks. Best medicine I could take.

    Like you I come home determined to put greater margins in my life. My downfall: I slowly return to the marginless life.

    Already have my reservations in for March 2013.

  • Bryon White

    Mr. Hyatt,
    I am a relatively new reader on your blog.  Much of what you write connects well with where I am in life and leadership.  My wife and I have 3 kids (10 yrs,7 yrs ,8weeks), we just sold our house and moved a couple miles and purchased our new home.  In addition to a sell, move, buy and new baby, the church I pastor is in a building project (my first). 

    Recently, I sat down to literally strategize about “how to” vacation this summer and do what I am calling “Unplug August”! 

    Thanks so much for your ideas they really helped give me the confidence I need to make this happen!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, Bryon. Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://kevinmartineau.blogspot.com Kevin M.

    After having to be forced into taking a time of unplugging (medical leave) 5 years ago I have made it a priority to unplug regularly.  I seek to live by this principle: schedule life around my breaks instead of breaks around my life.  It isn’t always easy but it is well worth it!

  • http://www.margaretfeinberg.com/ Margaret

    last Monday–I didn’t unplug for two weeks, but just a day. I left my laptop behind and went on my own adventures. I need this margin to refresh myself.

    Congrats on the 34th anniversary!

  • http://livetheneweconomy.com/ Mike

    I’m increasing the frequency and duration of my unplugs.  I enjoyed the specific strategies here.

  • http://twitter.com/rmw1221 Bob Wright

    Thanks Michael for this reminder of the importance of unplugging from our stressful busy lives once in awhile. You also reminded me of the importance, even day to day, of reflecting on God’s Word and value and simplicity of keeping a personal journal. God bless!

  • http://awakemysoulblog.com/ Laura Crosby

    Some friends and I have been using Jen Hatmaker’s book, “7, A mutiny against Excess” for our own experiment this summer.  Going without media (including my phone and everything on it) highlighted both the benefits and detriments of media in my life.  The biggest learning?  I have no boundaries in this area and need them! I did a couple of posts here http://wp.me/p1K985-Jz.

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com/ Nikole Hahn

    I refuse to get a phone with internet because it forces me to only plug in when I am in a wi-fi area or at home. This allows me to interact in public without distraction. Also, when we camp or hike we do not plug in. Sometimes, I even take evenings where I won’t plug in (these have been few though). I’m working on trying to take Sunday afternoons and unplug. That’s been a failure. When I work full time and write full time, it makes my schedule tight. So it’s more important than ever to plan downtime. 

  • Kingtubbo

    As a birthday gift to myself, I recently spent four days out in the desert (by Joshua Tree) during which I unplugged. I had no internet, no e-mail, no telephone, no television, not even a radio (car radio dead). I read newspapers in restaurants to keep up with headlines. I scratched out some ideas I have for a fiction piece using pen and paper. I enjoyed the savage beauty of the land (and the savage temps!), a great full moon on my birthday, and had a lot of time to reflect on what I wanted to do in the upcoming year.
    I felt more energetic and slept better than I had in years. When I came home I found that nothing had fallen apart because I wasn’t online. I realized that while technology is all well and fine for business purposes (and I work in an internet-based business, so it’s actually my lifeblood), it has become a tremendous time-suck of my free time and somewhat stilted my social life. I spend an idiotic amount of my personal time sitting in front of my PC and sometimes feel hostage to it. I’m trying to rectify that scenario.

  • http://www.trailways.com/team-trailways/motorcoach-listing-companies/companies/fullington bus companies in PA

    I have been thinking about unplugging during our upcoming vacation. I like the idea, but to really turn off my cellphone & leave the laptop at home are hard. Thanks for the inspiration and testifying that life won’t end or go bitterly wrong just because I “unplug”.

  • http://ThisMomsDelight.com Tami @ ThisMomsDelight.com

    I have been spending more time offline since I became pregnant…only because I’m exhausted.  I’m finding that facebook is such a consuming app on my phone.  I should give it some ‘time off’ and delete the app.

  • Denise McClain

    A couple of weeks ago, I decided to have bilateral carpal tunnel release surgery (so please excuse any typos). I’m a book reviewer, copy editor for a medium-sized publisher, and am working on my thesis, in addition to all the other day-to-day socialization items I do. As I’m in grad school, I’ve already severely limited my Twitter time and am not a fan of Facebook although I do use a Twitter client to check my FB timeline occasionally. Two weeks before my surgery I began alerting people of my upcoming online hiatus. The week after surgery, I had a friend or family member scroll through my inbox (I have several addresses migrating into one email client) to make sure nothing required my immediate attention, which someone else would have to type for me. Nothing did. What’s funny is that I didn’t miss online chatting via IM clients, didn’t miss constant checking on various social media for potential news. It’s just reminded me that as I enter the last leg of my post-baccalaureate degree, I’ll be maintaining a bit of that social media silence…for my own well-being.

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  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Thanks, Jennifer. I’m so glad you connected via Social Media Examiner!

  • Amber

    great article! Thanks so much for sharing this and thanks for applying the discipline to do this. I appreciate the practical steps as well!!

  • Bob M.

    I love being around and am energized by people.  BUT, I have made it a practice over the last couple of years to unplug every August for the month.  It’s the last bit of summer.  No TV, very little email if any and no Facebook.  I spend time with family, get outside and recreate a little more and read.  It’s a great habit and I look forward to it!

  • Swninetails

    I LOVE your story! I am actually a software engineer by trade but I do NOT own a cell phone and have no intention of ever getting another – I also have strict rule to not turn the computer on when I get home, I love being in control of my life and not allowing constant interruptions that can totally wait until I want to address them. I think the next 10 years is going to prove your right on the money – stress is out of control, demands are out of control – no one has time to pay attention to anyone because they are so busy paying half attention to everyone, all the time…

  • S. Kim Henson

    I know how you feel. Our mountain house is secluded so there’s no TV except to watch movies and only dialup internet access, so it’s easy to NOT connect. The house is beside a mountain stream so not only am I offline, but also in tune with nature. It’s heavenly, and I always feel better when I come home from there. 

    Thanks for reminding me to be more intentional when I’m back home and back to work. 

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  • ms. v.

    Are there apps that can do some of these things automatically? I’d like to shut off my work email during certain hours, or limit Twitter, FB, etc. during other hours… it would be easier to set this up and have it run automatically. 

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  • Bryan

    I have been unplugged for two months now. No facebook, instagram, etc.  I downgraded my smartphone to a brick phone. There are good and bad things but I am adapting. 

    The good things are :
    1. Silence the noise
    2. extra time
    3. Probably the most important to me is being present.  Although i could physically be out with friends I dont really have any reason to check my phone. So i am mentally present and engaged in conversation and actvity.  

     just truly enjoy things. it used to be that when seeing a beautiful sunset or scenery my first instinct was take out my phone and post to facebook. or check in somewhere cool.  now i just take in the scenery as it is. its very wholesome. you notice all the small details, and no matter how good your camera is, everything always looks better live.  as for checking in , usually youll do it in the lobby of places, some lobbies are surprisingly nice and have cool subtle things that you cant notice when your looking at your phone.
    4. at trainings and seminars you sit up front and never take out your phone and the speaker will love you. its sad but literally everyone has their smartphones out during these things.
    5. you dont get run over by priuses by staring down at your phone.

    the bad things are:
    1. no fb events. le sigh
    2. slight damper on networking. its a lot easier to find someone on facebook than to find out their email addresses. also most people i know dont email a lot. 

    All in all, unplugging has freed up time for me to think about the things i need to think about. life goals and stuff. sometimes i miss it but i feel fine without it now.

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  • Alison Proctor

    unplugging is the best thing in the world to do and go somewhere that re’awakens our senses. We have finally tuned communication, but our spiritual side needs attention, glad you got it.

  • Ronnie

    I unplugged the instant my wife upgraded on our Verizon plan. Once it became the “share” plan I had too. She was playing with her new smart phone so just coasted for a month. Uninstalled everything. It was refreshing after a week or so, but the first few days were tough. I am almost back to my old self again.

  • Cailey Dumler

    I unplugged recently for a couple of days. My pastor recommends (more like requires) each of us to take a 3-day Sabbatical every 3 months. Most of us neglect doing this until a later date. I came back refueled and rejuvenated! Thank you for the fresh and much needed reminder to “unplug” frequently…even for shorter periods of time.

  • Russ Watson AIA

    I’ve discussed the concept of an ‘unplugged’ resort or entire community for that matter with staffers and many others. We’ve come to one conclusion “It would be great, so why not do it?’ Stay tuned and I’ll text you our progress reports…..

  • Madhu

    I endorse this. A great way to rediscover oneself.

  • Ethan Bolvi

    I am a work-a-holic by nature. It’s hard for me to unplug. I have gotten better at it, but one thing that I have found to be the perfect solution is going on a cruise! My wife and I took our first cruise with family a few years ago. We loved it! It was the most relaxed and stress free I have been in years! One great thing about it is I don’t feel like I have to ‘will’ myself into not checking social media, email, etc. It simply does not work when you are out on a cruise (unless you want to pay big bucks for it). So my wife and I try to take a cruise once a year to Bermuda where we can rent a moped, spend time together on the beach, and just enjoy the beauty of the island and time together. Those cruises have been a lifesaver for us! I come back refreshed and with a full tank every time!

  • http://482gr8.wordpress.com/ 482gr8.wordpress.com

    I enjoy a “Sabbath Social Media Fast” almost every Sunday.

  • Keith Spanberger

    I myself made a decision to unplug every Sunday and it has been a refreshing thing each week for me. I even created a facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/day2unplug ) to try and help others do the same. Thanks Michael once again for a great post! Blessings – Keith