What whitewater rafting taught me about social business

time to unplug

time to unplug

Yes, that’s me in the raft on the left with the huge grin heading into “Troublemaker” rapids. We just got back from a two day trip rafting the American River and it was awesome.

What’s that got to do with social business? Not a lot really, just this one thing. Unplugging is good for our brains. I live in a world that is constantly buzzing with alerts, updates and stories I just HAVE to listen to. It’s my job for the most part and I love it, my phone is within 3 feet 24/7 and I look at it on average every 4 minutes (yes, somebody timed it). So two days on the river with zero access (Thank you ATT for wildly exaggerating your coverage.) meant that I had nothing to do but take photos, listen to the river and actually talk to people in our camping party.

Once I finally accepted that it just wasn’t going to happen  I relaxed and was old-school social. Stories were told. Laughter was heard. Introspection happened. For a couple of days I could hear the world without the buzz I’m used to, and it was good.

I’ve often scoffed at movements like the National Day of Unplugging as pointless and “fine for people who don’t manage social businesses  for a living”, but once I had no choice it was actually great. Yes, I took my phone and used it as a camera, but I put it in airplane mode and didn’t even miss the pings, bleeps and tweets I usually hear 30-40 times or more  a day.

What did I learn? My staff did an amazing job while I was gone and my business ran just fine. Frankly they always do, I just don’t notice as often as I should. They can manage without me sticking my nose in their jobs 80% of the time, and that’s why I hired them in the first place.They are the best at what they do and I appreciate them even more now.

Really, if you are a half-decent CEO lucky enough to have amazing people working for you you CAN turn off the network once in a while and be better for it. Your perspective changes the tiniest amount which allows you to see things more clearly and better focused.  I plan on putting my control freak in a box and doing this more often. What the heck, I might even stop tweeting during dinner.

Feel like you need a break yourself?
Check out these tips from Greatist on disconnecting, even if for just a day and see how it makes you feel.

The Ultimate Guide to Unplugging_1