How to Unplug

February 2023 |

The power of taking a digital sabbatical.

When was the last time you truly disconnected from technology?

IT expert Eric Garcia and owner of Simply Done Tech Solutions has built his career on helping veterinary practices use technology to boost their productivity and success, especially by using social media to educate pet owners. And he generally enjoys his own constant connectivity.

But he also knows the value of unplugging from time to time and taking a digital sabbatical. “No phone, no email, no text messages, no distraction, no watch, no TV,” he says. “Just no technology at all.” When he tried a digital sabbatical for 14 days, the results were dramatic.

“Some weird things happened,” Garcia recalls. These included:

  • Phantom noise. Initially, Garcia’s mind played tricks on him, and he kept thinking that he heard his phone ringing or felt his watch vibrating.
  • FOMO. He experienced some fear of missing out. “I wanted to know what was happening in the world, more than just the people that were in front of me,” he says.
  • Peace. Soon, however, a deep feeling of peacefulness developed. “I was completely at peace,” he says, “and truly in the moment.”
  • Focus. He began paying attention. “I was comprehending conversations in a way I hadn’t before,” he says. “I learned new things about people that I’ve been friends with for 15 or 20 years, and we got to get into deeper, more meaningful conversations.”
  • Rest. Even his sleep seemed to deepen. “I slept amazing,” he remembers.

He now gives himself this gift annually, unplugging for 14 days every year. “You don’t realize how happy you can be when you’re not sidetracked by technology,” he says. “A lot of us don’t realize that it actually is harming us and prohibiting us from being our happiest until we actually take breaks from it.”

Unplug Moments

Try “unplug moments,” such as taking an afternoon off of social media, a morning off from email or not answering any text messages for a weekend, Garcia suggests. “We can be much more productive when we learn to control the technology instead of letting it control us.”