Intentionally Unplug

“Everything works better if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” –Anne Lamott.

Three engineers were riding in a car when it suddenly stopped. The mechanical engineer noticed a clunk sound and reasoned it was the transmission that broke and they’d need to start walking. The electrical engineer thought he saw a flicker in the lights just before things stopped and reasoned it was a short in the electrical system. They would have to trace the wiring. But the computer engineer suggested, “Why don’t we all get out and shut the doors. Wait a minute. Then get back in and start it up.” (Old computer nerd joke.)

We all know this about our computing devices from desktops to laptops to tablets and phones. It is good to occasionally turn it completely off, count to 20, turn it back on. This isn’t magic. There are reasons in electronics physics that explain how it works.

It is the same with us.

One of the Biblical characters I’ve always been most impressed with is Daniel. He was chief administrator for two of the world’s largest empires (up to that time), yet he was disciplined to take three breaks a day to go to his rooms and meditate on God. It’s an example always in my mind.

We can unplug two to three times every day for perhaps 10 minutes or so. Stop, get into a good posture–sitting upright, standing, laying on your back–just breathe evenly for a time. You can meditate on a word or a picture–I often suggest a peaceful location to go off to in their imagination.

The Pomodoro technique to thought work is to work 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break. I will batch work then get up and walk around. I find walking refreshing. Even for five minutes, it’s like the old commercial tag line–the pause that refreshes.

Then take longer breaks–long weekends, week-long vacations.

You can even write all of these breaks from the 5-10 minute ones to the week-long one right into your calendar. Set reminders. Begin now.

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