The Importance of Dialing Down and Disconnecting 

By: President, Pam Nulman, APR, CPRC

Fresh off a two week vacation, I am again reminded of how important it is for us all to step back, dial down and disconnect for a short period of time to recharge our batteries and re-energize our creativity and passion for our jobs and careers.

Today more than ever I believe we all need to take some down time and disconnect from the continuous bombardment of information, as well as our own desire to stay connected and relevant through sharing our own information.

A few years ago disconnecting meant primarily leaving work behind (which was hard enough) but now not only do we have to disconnect from work, but from the desire to post photos and share updates on every aspect of our lives as well. The very real urge to share our vacation experiences in real time is seductive and feeds directly into our digital addiction which makes it even harder to disconnect.

I understand the challenge of disconnecting and the need to have instant contact and access to information. We feel out of touch if we can’t check our email, Twitter feed or Facebook to see what’s happening in the world around us.

My secret to disconnecting? Vacationing somewhere where I’m forced to disconnect due to the lack of cell service – yes, there are still some places without cell service, even in the U.S. – because quite frankly I don’t have the willpower to completely disconnect on my own.

Last year it was two weeks in Belize and this year it was Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. While it always takes me a couple of days to decompress and go through my initial withdrawals, around about the third day I’m feeling fine without having my fingers wrapped around my phone.

Here are five positives for me when I disconnect:

  1. I sleep better. I don’t wake up in the middle of the night and I don’t reach for my phone first thing in the morning, which always kicks my stress level into gear.
  2. I notice and feel more connected to the world around me when my head isn’t bent down focused on a 2” x 4” screen.
  3. Conversations with family and friends are very different when everyone isn’t checking their phone every few minutes.
  4. I am much more apt to strike up a conversation with strangers and have met some extremely interesting people.
  5. If I do start thinking about work (and at some point I always do) I find I’m more easily inspired and can come to clear resolutions and decision much faster.

I am back home now and ready to jump back into work and life after a wonderful two week respite of communing with nature, connecting with family and meeting new people.

As for my phone, it’s a part of me again and on the way home I put it to good use scoping out vacation destinations for next year.

– Pam