How To Unplug When You Work In Digital
If you're a social media manager, marketing specialist, publicist, journalist, blogger, or anything else of the sort, the better part of your day is probably spent online. Whether you're managing a client account, scouring the web for news, or creating content for your own channels, it's necessary to stay up to date with what's trending.
Unfortunately, being plugged into the social sphere on a daily basis eventually takes its toll. From the trauma of the 24 hour news cycle to the physical stress of staring at a computer screen, you can seriously drive yourself crazy.
For those in other professions, it's easy to simply delete your apps and take a long hiatus whenever needed. But when it's your job to be online, and the success of your brand, business, blog, or client depends on it, it's a lot harder to pull away.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can keep your sanity without falling off the digital map completely:
Take advantage of morning hours.
My favorite time of day is early in the morning before the sun rises, while everyone and everything is still asleep. I take the quiet time to prepare my mind for the day, whether through prayer, meditation, reading, or listening to music. When you work in digital, your first instinct in the morning is to grab your phone, check the news, read your timeline, and look up your client accounts. Instead, try waking up a few hours earlier than normal to give yourself extra time away from your phone and computer. When it's finally time to log on, you're ready to work.
Develop a routine.
It's easy to spend your entire day online. After all, you can chat, shop, read the news, post on Instagram, watch Snapchat stories, pin on Pinterest, blog, watch videos, and do pretty much everything else except eat. When you work in media, the digital world itself is unavoidable, but you can develop a daily routine to plan how much time you'll spend living in it. For example, only check your social media accounts three times a day, take a daily hiatus from 12PM to 2PM, and turn off all devices every night after your evening workout. Develop a routine that allows you to do your job while still making time for yourself.
Take a silent lunch.
Remember back in elementary school when "silent lunch" was a punishment? You're forced to eat all alone and away from your friends. Funny enough, that "punishment" can actually be the most therapeutic part of your day. Instead of scrolling the timeline while you're on your lunch break, simply sit down, eat, and relax your mind. No phone. No Twitter. No blog posts. No work. Just you and your food. Your lunch break is a break. Use it!
Use social media schedulers.
If you're posting on social media in real time, you're playing yourself. While it's important to organically engage with your audience, you should still use platforms like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule the bulk of your content in advance. Do this for both your client accounts and your personal pages to make life way easier. If you decide to step away or take a break, your online presence (and your client's) won't suffer. Plus, it's a smart media practice you should be using anyway to help you post consistently.
Hire a subcontractor or virtual assistant.
Everyone needs a vacation. Unfortunately for freelancers, your client work doesn't stop simply because you jet set off to Hawaii. If you're a social media manager, hire someone to "man the accounts" while you're away. Schedule the content ahead of time, and let the subcontractor check in periodically to ensure nothing goes awry. If you're a publicist, give a virtual assistant a checklist of tasks to complete, such as monitoring media mentions or responding to press inquiries. You can't do everything alone. There's no harm in delegating tasks to others while you get some much needed rest and relaxation.
Re-evaluate your workload.
Feeling overwhelmed? There's probably a legitimate reason why. Maybe you have too many clients and need to outsource some of your work. Maybe you've been a content creating machine and need to take a break from your blog. Maybe you need to cut something out altogether. The entire world shouldn't fall apart if you decide to turn your phone off for an hour. Re-evaluate your current workload; figure out what you can delegate or eliminate. While a little stress can be productive, too much can kill you.
Even though working in digital media is fun, exciting, and rewarding, it can be just as mentally and emotionally taxing as any other career. Use these tips to help you unplug and regain a sense of peace and sanity in your everyday life.