Permission to Unplug

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Do you ever feel like you are just so overwhelmed with emails, newsletters and google alerts that you don’t know what to respond to first? Or that if you don’t keep up with everything  related to your business you will miss something vitally important?  Between invitations to join free tele-seminars, podcasts and  webinars, you can easily spend the entire day without even connecting on the social networks or checking the blog posts in your RSS feed reader.

In the fall of last year, I was feeling absolutely overwhelmed with electronic information.  My head was spinning with all the input and I had no time or energy left for “output” such as product creation or my own writing.  I wasn’t sleeping well because I couldn’t stop the flow of ideas and felt that I never had time to execute all of them.

What I previously saw as a gift, my ability to continuously generate new ideas, felt more like a curse. Nonstop internal chatter was beginning to interfere with my ability to give my private clients the focused attention they deserved. Because my commitment to clients is my priority,  I wasn’t following through on several projects I’d started. While I solved that by sharing some of those business ideas with colleagues and clients who could implement them, I was feeling anxiety about not developing new programs for 2011.

My son was coming for a week at Thanksgiving and I didn’t want to be frazzled and grouchy so I made a BIG, DRASTIC DECISION. I gave myself permission to UNPLUG. Not just for a few days but for as long as it took to refresh and refocus. I did scroll through emails once daily just to make sure there was nothing urgent from family or friends, but left hundreds of emails unopened, didn’t check in on Facebook or Twitter or read blogs. And my world didn’t fall apart. Rather, things started coming together again.

Yes, this is contradictory to the advise you receive from business coaches and mentors. I too recommend reaching out to your readers and followers regularly through blog posts, newsletters and social networking. You do need to stay current on what’s happening in your industry, but at what point are you trying to process so much information that you put off making decisions for fear of making the wrong decision?

There’s lots of information online about how to manage your time, apps for handling that information and an overwhelming number of articles about how to get out of overwhelm. Even with good time management, there is just so much information out there that if you try to read everything for fear of missing something, you may just end up doing nothing. Maybe it’s time you give yourself permission to unplug and get centered. You’ll likely come back refreshed, recharged and ready to focus.

As always, your comments are welcome below.  I’d love to hear how you handle information overload.

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