The 7 Day Unplug Challenge

This is my 7 Day Unplug Challenge. I hope you’ll join me in scheduling your own week to truly unplug. Please read on to unplug.

You may need to unplug if you are anything like me and:

  • Wake up and have a smart phone in your hand within 5 minutes.
  • Own an iPhone & a work Blackberry. (multiple phones and Internet connections)
  • Deal with multiple Internet related responsibilities from the time you wake to the moment you sleep.
  • Deal with 100+ emails per day.
  • Recognize that technology & the Internet, sometimes, is hurting the people you love the most; including yourself.

You may also need to unplug if you are:

  • Feeling the Internet is affecting your personal relationships in any negative way whatsoever.
  • Feel technology is getting in the way of you eating, exercising, sleeping or relaxing.
  • Find that the Internet is interfering with your career or schooling.
  • You may need to unplug if you even think for a second that ‘you need to unplug’!

We’ll get to the actual  7 DAY UNPLUG CHALLENGE in a moment, but first let me give you some background information as to how you can imagine it recently came about for me, and at the end, I hope you will join me in some fashion or another by accepting the 7 day Unplug Challenge.

With a two week holiday just coming to the half way mark,  Tanya, my awesome wife, was kind enough to encourage me to relax on the first week of my vacation, do all the things I want to; like play with the kids, stay up late watch movies, post a few blog articles, write some music, and spend quality time as a family in general and even putter around on my computer gadgets! Yipppeeee!!!!!!

Her request for my second week of my vacation was to PLEASE, PLEASE TRULY relax and 100% UNPLUG.

So my first response was, “OK, so you mean no computer?” Nope she said, “100% UNPLUG meaning No computer,  No Blackberry, No iPhone, No tablet, and NO INTERNET PERIOD. So if someone wants to get a hold of you they are just going to have to do it ‘Old School’ and call our home phone number!” I can actually count all the people on one hand who actually call my home phone! In the moment the thought of me actually fully and completely unplugging was making me a little queasy with worry how I would cope, and for that very reason alone I accepted the challenge. I knew in my heart it was time to unplug.

Now reality sets in and I am minutes away from the 7 Day Unplug Challenge. I guarantee I will go out of my skin for a few days with probably some fairly realistic withdrawal symptoms; phantom vibrating blackberry syndrome, iPhone envy, and even a little ‘what do I do now’ whining!

Here is my quasi plan:

  • All devices off.
  • Absolutely zero internet.
  • Out of office response on all my email addresses (don’t ask how many :)
  • Three books to read (The Hunger Games Trilogy)
  • My guitar.
  • A pad of paper and pen.
  • My wife and three beautiful children.

Your guess is as good as mine how this will turn out (I’ll post an update next week) , but I am hoping that I come back a week from now relaxed , invigorated and ready to take on the rest of 2011. Thank again to Tanya for making this happen and my apologies in a advance if I’m a  grump for a day or two :)

Hope you’ll join me and create your own 7 Day Unplug Challenge.

Pass it on.

Email Inbox Utopia

I have achieved the ultimate email nirvana of  ZERO EMAILS in my inbox and know that you can as well. This has been extremely easy,  true,  and was accomplished managing both my personal & business email (200+ combined emails per day). In addition to seeing my In Boxes empty at the end of every day, I now only have to manage three folders! This is a far cry from the 50+ folders I managed before.

I’ll say that again, “Only three folders too manage all my email!” Life is simple again.

First off, I can’t take any credit for creating an uber email system or process. The awesome blogger/author(s) over at LifeHacker, Gina Trapani (blog post)  &  co-author of the LifeHacker book Adam Pash,  did all the heavy lifting and included an expanded version of this blog post called “Empty Your InBox With The Trusted Trio” in their book! For more detail definitely check out their book entlitled, “Lifehacker: The Guide To WOrking Smarter, Faster, and Better”. It contains an insane amount of valuable time saving tech techniques outside of your email inbox  just waiting to be discovered. They should be teaching this stuff to kids in school as far as I am concerned.

Here is the premise of achieving email inbox utopia and then I highly suggest you head over to LifeHacker to read their blog post then buy the  digital version on Kindle or hard copy of the book. It will be the best 10$ or $20, respectively,  you have ever invested:

  • Every email you receive can be either dealt with immediately or assigned to a folder in less than a minute.
  • You only need three email folders from this day forward; follow up, on hold & archive. (See the LifeHacker blog post and or book for more details)
  • You need not be a slave to your email ever again.  (As the screenshots of my two email in boxes below prove email utopia or nirvana is indeed achievable!)

Here are the screenshots of my gMail and Outlook email clients:

Outlook:

Outlook Email at Zero

Gmail:

Gamial Inbox at Zero

Lastly, here is my affiliate link to the book I highly recommend you read to achieve email inbox utopia and many more digital enlightenment techniques.