A blog by Campbell Consulting Group, based in Bend, Oregon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Unplug, Turn Off and Tune Out

It’s satisfying when you get an instantaneous response from a work email via BlackBerry or iPhone, but if it’s 10 at night, you might ask yourself, does your colleague ever sleep? Or read a book/sit in the park/do nothing? Then again, why are you sending a work email at 10 at night?

Business tasks have an insidious way of creeping into every waking moment. Beep-boop: there’s something you need to check: email, twitter, Facebook. This seems particularly true in the world of PR. You might be afraid you’re not doing your job well if you’re not plugged in, ready to respond to your clients 24-7. This is especially true if you work remotely.

Fast Company published a blog post that’s worth re-visiting: What Happened To Downtime? The Extinction Of Deep Thinking And Sacred Space. It explores something artists and creative writers have known for years: some of the best ideas come when the brain isn’t actively thinking. When it’s still, quiet, meandering slowly. Suddenly an answer to a problem, a plot twist or an image worth capturing in acrylic springs to mind inexplicably.

PR involves creative thinking (or it should) and PR professionals need to value, guard and insist on their own downtime, a break from emails and tweets.

Thankfully, I’m old enough to remember the world before the Internet spread its (awesome, revolutionary, annoying) web. I won’t grow nostalgic over typewrites and phones that actually went ring ring, but I will say this: that divide between work and home was invaluable. Your front door separated you and your family from the world—to gab, bicker, read, or of course, watch TV. Try it for one evening: turn off the computer, turn off the phone, maybe even turn off the TV.

You don’t have to trek into the woods to be disconnected.