Lessons learned from unplugging

You may have noticed that the blog was pretty empty this week. That's because on Sunday my family took off for the woods on a much needed mini vacation. I only told the folks who really needed to know where I was. I didn't pre-schedule any posts and turned the wifi off on my phone so I couldn't accidentally pick up a signal and jump online.

Here's what I learned from four days of unplugging.

1. The world does go on. Despite being completely out of contact, nothing broke, caught on fire or self-destructed. In fact, quite the opposite. Everything continued to run as expected. Clients turned in projects which were patiently waiting for me on my return. Emails were sent and everyone understood from my away message that I would respond when I got back. We may feel like we are the only ones holding life as we know it together, but we aren't. The world will survive if you take a break.

2. Marketing is not a 24/7 job. Admittedly, I've done less marketing recently than a few months ago, but I've still be posting here on the blog, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and trying to do some promotion. But with no internet, I was completely cut off from all those tasks I thought were so important. And you know what. Sales didn't tank. In fact, in the midst of my tree-filled hiatus I had one of my best sales days ever. Now that doesn't mean you should stop marketing to have better sales. But it does mean that I can take a break if I've put the right foundation in place. My marketing machine is running on its own with minor tweaks from me now and then, and that's how it should be.

3. Stepping away from your work can make it seem less daunting. I have several tasks that have been sitting on my to-do list for a while now. Nothing pressing, just things I need to get done. But I haven't done them, because I just didn't want to. Several days away from the grind of tasks that I have to do gave me the break I needed to get back in action and tackle those delayed items.

4. Writing is not work. I obviously didn't have my computer with me, but I did take a notebook and a pen. On our second day, I took my notebook down to the lake to do some writing while my girls got some quality time fishing with their dad. My husband made a comment about not being able to stop working. This struck me as odd, because I don't think of writing as work. It's a joy. Sure, it's hard, but it's also fun or I wouldn't do it. In between hiking, fishing, playing Uno and making s'mores, I managed to squeeze in about 2000 words. I was able to forget about everything else for a while and just enjoy the magic of filling pages with words. I know that if that ever loses its magic, it'll be time to hang up my pen.

My hiatus from the real world was short and sweet. I got right back to work on Thursday (er...Wednesday night) answering emails and planning my take over of the known universe. And all those to-do items were still waiting for me, just where I left them. It's not always practical or possible to step away, but we all need to find ways to unplug and recharge.

So how do you refill your cup and re-energize?