Silence Beckons

Cecilia GormanYou can begin to achieve balance by embracing short moments of silence.

Though I’d challenge you to remember the last time you had a truly silent moment (while sleeping last night does not count!).
We’ve forgotten what silence means because our eyes and ears are glued to our clients, deadlines, emails, tweets and posts via our phones. It’s time to get unstuck from PDA-land folks. Silence beckons.

For true balance to take root, we must allow the time to sit and do nothing. This begins with some easy steps to help extract yourself from your electronic albatross.

  1. Leave your phone in your car during errands of 5 minutes or less. This sounds like a simple way to start, yet most of us while find this uncomfortable. While waiting for your drycleaning order or standing in line at the ATM, leave your phone in your car. I guarantee you’ll reach for your phone in your pocket or purse at least a half dozen times. It’s a very hard habit to break. What you’ll learn from this short exercise is that the world does not stop rotating if you can’t be reached for 5 minutes. Try it on a 5-minute errand and work your way up to longer errands. Silence does a body good, even if it is only for brief increments at a time.
  2. Put your phone on silent during dinner time. Repeat after me: “Dinner time is sacred.” Whether you are dining alone or sitting with your spouse and kids, nothing should interrupt dinner time. I know we all have crazy deadlines, crazy clients and habits that are crazy hard to break, but…Balance can never be achieved when we allow work to trump family and home life. Again, dinner time is sacred.
  3. Do not return work emails after 9 pm. I can already hear you muttering “impossible.” Isn’t that when most of us work, after 9pm, when the kids are in bed or dinner’s done? Unless your client is on fire (literally), you must establish some home boundaries that are firm. Non-urgent emails are not responded to after 9 pm.

Boundaries at home are hard for freelancers, yet without firm rules you’ll find yourself never turning work off and home life on.

Balance means achievement plus enjoyment. You can’t have much of one without the other. Follow these tips and learn to enjoy short moments of silence and I promise balance will be close behind.

What do you think? Can you do this? Try it and let us know how it goes.

Listen to BTW: [audio:]

I tried this at home — by accident — and it wasn’t easy. Although walking out of the house without my cell phone was surprisingly liberating!

One thought on “Silence Beckons

  1. Aimee Yllanes

    I went a full 24 hours without touching my cell phone or computer on a Saturday a few weeks ago. In the beginning it was tough, but by the end of the day I came to realize how valuable time with my family really is and that even though I had been in the room with them on other occasions, I truly had not been present. While I may not go 24 hours in the future without technology, I learned that I don’t need it attached to my hip or next to my bed. Clients can and will wait.