Minimalist Manager Challenge Part 7: Get Offline

In the 7th installment in my #MinimalistManager Challenge, I get rid of all electronics for 24 hours.

Below, you’ll read why I chose this particular task and the surprising things it taught me about self-sufficiency, reaching goals, and relying on intuition.

A Little Background…

My journey to get rid of unneeded things and to have an increased appreciation of the world around us has led me to discover Minimalist Management.

I believe there are 4 main focus areas to successfully achieve a minimalist mindset:

  • Care for Self
  • Organize Surroundings
  • Prioritize Time
  • Help Others

In this post, you will see a Post-Mortem Evaluation of today’s task, where I analyze some root causes of the actions to avoid as a business owner.

A Post-Mortem has 4 parts:

  1. what happened
  2. what went well
  3. what didn’t go well, and
  4. how we can adjust for the future

Check out my first post to find out WHY I decided to start this challenge in the first place.

View this post on Instagram

Autumn is here, and it’s time for a new #minimalistmanager challenge! I’ll be experiencing tasks that get me closer to business goals, even if it’s uncomfortable… like eating #nosugar (tomorrow’s objective) 🍭🛑. Want to join me? Here’s how: . . . Pick 9 activities that feel slightly uncomfortable but move you toward your goals in four areas: • Care for Self • Organize Surroundings • Prioritize Time • Help Others If you own a business, consider ways to stretch yourself as an owner. Set aside a period of time to work on your challenge (I recommend 9 to 15 days). Write down your challenge tasks. Each day, pick one card out of a hat 🎩. [I scheduled 15 days with 9 activities; the extra days are to recognize and celebrate growth, or consider why it didn’t go so well.] I’ll be posting updates about my challenge here: https://laconteconsulting.com/blog Join me, and let me know what you learn about yourself!

A post shared by Grace LaConte (@lacontestrategy) on

The full list

Watch a video where I talk about this task:


Part 7 of My Challenge: Turn Off the Electronics

This particular day helped me to define the things that are distracting me from achieving goals.

I am a strategist and consultant and focus on independent healthcare practitioners. And while they are amazing at serving patients, often they have a hard time moving projects forward, collecting the money they’re owed, and becoming financially secure.

As a business owner myself, I started this Minimalist Challenge because I hoped it would give me a chance to reflect on what is most difficult in achieving my goals. And one area that seems to constantly pull me away from serving clients’ needs is the blessing-slash-curse of technology.

So for one day, I wanted to eliminate all electronic devices and see what effect that would have on me.

Essential Area

This task fits into two categories:

  • Care for Self
  • Organize Surroundings
  • Prioritize Time
  • Help Others

Since this task forced me to rely more on my intuition instead of the massive content online, I found a renewed sense of purpose. I decided to dust off old-school CDs, books, and recipe cards.

Eliminating electronic devices also allowed me to breathe… and to consider what really matters in life.

Post-Mortem Evaluation

Here is a summary of how this task went.

1. What happened

Today’s challenge took an interesting twist. I did not go online at all.

  • I didn’t log into any devices.
  • I did not check any e-mail.
  • I did not go on any social media accounts.
  • I did not watch TV.

So basically, the whole day was spent without any modern technology (other than a digital alarm clock, microwave, and CD player).

I thought this task would be pretty easy. It took place on a Sunday, so I spent the day with my family attending church. But this turned out to be a really, REALLY long and hard day.

2. What went well

A lot of good things happened during this task.

For one, I learned to really slow down and take time to listen to old-school music (like the Charlie Brown Christmas with Vince Guaraldi CD that was sitting on a dusty shelf!).

I was also more honest with myself about abilities that I had forgotten about.

My three children got my full attention all day long, which is rare. We did some really fun crafts and activities together.

Since it was a Sunday, my normal cooking process is to research recipes on the computer or smartphone. But since those weren’t available, my choices were limited to cookbooks and my own ingenuity.

3. What didn’t go well

During the day, I wrote down all the times I felt the urge to search something online.

Here’s the list:

My List of Electronic Hankerings on “Get Offline Day”

(This is the ENTIRE list, so I’m being totally transparent here!)

  1. 9:01 a.m. – Wake up; check what time it is
  2. 9:03 a.m. – Check Instagram likes and Facebook replies
  3. 9:23 a.m. – Online recipe search for making bagel and lox (I looked through my fridge and used cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion, capers, lemon juice, tomatoes, and dill)
  4. 10:10 a.m. – Online search for fat percentage of salmon versus flounder
  5. 10:45 a.m. – Wanted to log in to Vistaprint to review business card prices
  6. 10:56 a.m. – Look up time; are we late to church?
  7. 11:15 a.m. – Check online calendar for upcoming events
  8. 11:30 a.m. – Add another word to my Violence in Language with the phrase “kill time”
  9. 11:32 a.m. – Look up person on Facebook
  10. 11:45 a.m. – Search the phrase MCT Oil [Medium-chain triglyceride]
  11. 11:50 a.m. – Divide 6.3 million (number of Alliance worshipers around the world) by 22,000 (number of Alliance churches)
  12. 12:40 p.m. – Check time
  13. 1:30 p.m. – Mindless distraction while eating lunch
  14. 2:05 p.m. – Read recipes (found old cookbooks instead)
  15. 3:00 p.m. – Open Pandora to listen to music (played CDs on CD player instead)
  16. 3:20 p.m. – Mindless distraction while eating a snack
  17. 4:10 p.m. – Take photos of my kids’ clay creations
  18. 4:55 p.m. – Mindless distraction while waiting for an event to start
  19. 6:00 p.m. – New app announced that I wanted to download
  20. 6:10 p.m. – Check tomorrow’s gym schedule
  21. 6:50 p.m. – Look up a list of naturopathic associations
  22. 7:30 p.m. – Check hours at local apple orchard
  23. 9:05 p.m. – Mindless distraction after kids go to bed
  24. 9:20 p.m. – Check gym schedule again
  25. 9:40 p.m. – Check phone to see if anyone called
  26. 9:45 p.m. – Find out whether Larry Zanoff’s accent is from Pennsylvania (he’s the co-star of Terry Schappert’s awesome show Hollywood Weapons… and yes, Larry did indeed grow up in Philly!)
  27. 9:47 p.m. – Look up recipe for baba ganoush (Syrian style eggplant dip)
  28. 9:50 p.m. – Find out more about the movie 3:10 to Yuma (there’s a 1957 version starring Glenn Ford and Van Helfin, and a 2007 version with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale)
  29. 9:52 p.m. – Find out more about the movie The Score (a 2001 movie starring Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton)
  30. 10:02 p.m. – Mindless distraction before bed (opened up a book instead)
  31. 10:40 p.m. – Check for alerts and calls; go to sleep

As you can see from the LONG list above, I felt the urge to check my phone or computer many, MANY times.

Removing my access to electronic devices, actually made me really uncomfortable. I felt like I had lost a part of my decision-making capabilities.

It’s amazing how much we rely on the collective content of millions of other people, rather than sitting in silence and hearing our own intuition. When that crutch is taken away, it can uncover a deep power we weren’t even aware we had.

4. How I can adjust for the future

During this challenge, I was able to look around me and enjoy the beauty of a beautiful sunrise on the right below, with Wy’East (aka Mount Hood) peeking up from the skyline…

and a sunset seen on the left below, with majestic Loowit (aka Mount Saint Helens) surrounded by a pastel haze.

Summary

I would say that my Get Offline/No-Electronics day stretched me in ways I was definitely not expecting. It helped me recognize a pretty strong pull toward finding information from online sources, rather than solving the problems in my own mind… or asking others for help.

I also realized how difficult it is to grow and mature unless you get rid of distractions. And for me, electronics often become a distraction from doing the few things that move the needle so I can achieve my goals.

Living real life—investing in those we care about and doing what brings us joy—gives us more meaning and purpose than staring at a screen all day.

This challenge also presented new opportunities to engage in the world around me, which is always a good thing. I hope you’ll take the time to smell the roses too (and break out your old-school CDs and cassettes!)

 

If you want to discuss some practical ways to move your business toward your goals, let’s talk.


Follow my #MinimalistManager journey:

Stay tuned for the next installment, where I will spend a day showing gratitude.


Grace LaConte is a Strategic Risk Expert who helps service business owners find and fix hidden risks that keep them from achieving long-term success. Using her experience as a Risk Officer in the healthcare and technology fields, Grace shares a refreshingly honest approach to uncovering hidden risks and opportunities. Learn more at http://laconteconsulting.com, or connect with her on Twitter @lacontestrategy.

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