Archive for August 2014

The vacation you can’t afford to miss

2-unplugI take a vacation every single weekend. It forces me to regain focus, refresh my mind and come in to work Monday with a new attitude. It allows me to live life intentionally.

However, my weekend vacations don’t involve packing a bag or getting on a plane. Instead, my vacations are “Digital Vacations.” Every Friday at 5pm, I turn off my cell phone and my laptop. I don’t turn on the television or radio and I literally unplug all weekend. I change my voicemail to say I’m not available and explain that I’m on a digital vacation.

Why? Our lives are so fast pace that we become too busy making a living, taking the kids to boy scouts, soccer practice, basketball, and going to work, that we get lost in the activity and lose the act.

A book I read a couple years back was called ‘One Word That Will Change Your Life‘ and basically the idea is to pick one word and focus on that one word for a whole year. You put all your decisions through a filter with that word being the main focus.

Before I started taking digital vacations, it dawned on me that I wasn’t being intentional with my life. I was going through the motions. So my word for last year was “intentionality.” I wanted to be intentional with my actions and decisions. Now I know that if I don’t take time to intentionally unplug, I’ll lose focus on my goals and what’s really important to me.

The benefits of unplugging are immeasurable. It’s produced more meaningful connections, it limits my distractions and forces me to be more engaged and present in the moment. This thinking also helps me to set limits on how much time I spend watching television, checking email and reading Facebook during the week.

I encourage you to take a digital vacation this weekend and see how it changes your perspective and your efficiency at work. Then tell me about your experience.

What are your values?

1-core-values1If you ask anyone on the street “What are your values?” they would tell you they have a house, a car, a bank account and a 401k.

We don’t understand that our values aren’t the things we have, they’re what we believe are important to us in the way we live and work. They should determine our priorities and how we spend our time.

It’s so rare for us to stop and think about the things we’re doing today and if they’re actually important. Do they matter at the end of the day? The week? The month? The year? Your lifetime? And if we answer that question with “no” then why are we doing those things?

If it truthfully doesn’t matter, why are you doing it?

Say you’re driving down the road and I cut you off. You might immediately think, “That jerk. He meant to cut me off. He did that just to make me mad. Well, it worked. I’m hacked.”

In actuality, I just got a call from my wife and she told me that our dog is sick and I need to meet her at the vet immediately. Or my wife just told me she doesn’t love me anymore. Or any number of things. The point is, there’s a million different reasons why I might have cut you off, none of which are because I wanted to upset you.

But instead we get all worked up about it! And in the grand scheme of things is it going to matter?

No, it’s not.

Don’t waste your energy on being mad or impatient, focus on things that matter and leaving a mark. It doesn’t always mean doing non-profit work or helping good causes, it means working on something that matters to you more than money and creating value for yourself and for others.

I encourage you to think over the next few weeks about what your values are. How can you make a positive impact on this planet? How can you better others’ lives? Then, focus on those things and put all your extra time and energy into those things.

Tell me, really, what are your values?