I am in a beautiful bus connected Milan Malpensa to The Center of the town, after a marvellous and bumpy Easyjet flight, where I start recognising the crew faces, which makes me think I am really travelling too much.
Anyway… It s January 11th, and since the beginning of the year I have been in 5 countries already, took 6 flights and a Thalys. I wanted to disconnect for three days and went to Dubai, where I reconnected with a couple of old friends.
I don’t know you guys,but I NEVER put an “out of office” response to emails, maybe because I don’t have an office.
And – like most of us – I have all my emails mixed up on the same devices.
So I wanted to disconnect.
Dubai helped a lot because – on purpose – I didn’t buy a local SIM and relied on WIFi which on the beach is not very good.
Yet, when I had connection, I had a very hard time not to read business related stuff, and answering some of the most urgent things… and while I write this, I felt really stupid.
People love to think the world would fall apart without their contributions, their answers, their thoughts, unless they reach a point where they are so rich that they don t give a shit about it (I am generalising, but only a little). Which is stupid as well of course.
I hate deadlines, structures, action lists, unsolicited pressure, and yet I work with it every day. Because this is the life of an “independent worker”, who has no pension plan and a lot less protection of an employee.
But then, what does it mean disconnect, say for an entrepreneur?
I value a lot people who can disconnect, regardless the importance of their job and the deadlines associated to it.
And I think this is something I still have a lot to learn about.
If you are not good enough to surround you with people that allow you to disconnect, you are the one to blame.
Everybody has his own way when it s time to hit the “pause” button.
And – granted – some cannot just disappear because it happens so that they are the one taking the critical decisions, and not be reachable would not be fair for the ones that are backing them up.
Not being able to disconnect fully is the best reason to pay someone an expensive price. Not because you can t afford to loose that person (experience proved the contrary at least to me) but because while he or she is there, you are asking a very high price to the way he or she conceives life.
Have you ever tried to delete all your emails in one go, without checking what s important and what isn’t?
One could argue that things that are critical will pop up again, but is that true for an entrepreneur? Or for someone who’s success depends On staying connected with the networks he serves?
Here is the paradox: most people think that the freedom given by being the owner of your own time, not being mandated to be in the office, and not having any boss who commands you is the nirvana of the jobs. Well, freedom to disconnect often does not come with it. Is that another type of prison?
I don’t know, frankly.
It might well depends simply on the way you are. The boundaries between personal and business life can be blurred, regardless your responsibilities and your position.
When you disconnect, do it for someone. For you, for your family, for someone who needs your help and matters for you.
World won’t fall apart, and you will be able to tell that someone that you gave away, for that cause, what s most precious: time.