Offline is the new luxury (21)

How often do you want to be distracted by your smartphone, and what exactly do you gain from it? Each Friday, Irene, who together with Astrid is the founder of Flow, writes about this particular issue. 

We’ve all experienced the desire to stay nice and safely within our own comfort zone. At least I know I have, but I also know what stepping out of my comfort zone brings: a fresh take on things, a lightening of the load when it comes to worries, new inspiration and creativity, and much more. That is why I am sitting here now in Palm Springs with Astrid, launching our new product line in America. Previously, I tried as much as possible to get out of these things: tours, lectures, presentations and so on—anything that I found to be complicated, I would do my best to avoid. But after having read inspiring stories in Flow about what it brings you if you dare to step outside your comfort zone, I say “Yes” more often (in my eyes) to scary things. Someone who also does this, and who even wrote a book about it, is Shonda Rhimes. She is the creator and writer of successful American series such as Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and was often asked to do so many things, but always preferred to remain at home with her children. One day she decided to change course and made herself say “Yes” to everything for a whole year. One of the things she did in order to ensure she said yes to her kids more when they asked her if she wanted to do something with them, was establish the rule that she would no longer work on Saturdays or Sundays. She changed the message under her e-mail signature to: “Please note that after 7 p.m. or in the weekends, I do not read work e-mails. If I am your boss, I advise you to put your phone down right now.”

One of our freelancers also had a similar line under her e-mail signature. Hers said that, one week per month, she did not answer e-mails. I’m quite jealous of such initiatives. Could I also do something like this? And would I keep to it? Shonda is honest: she says that it works just as often as it fails. But it is the start of a new consciousness. For the first time, she has really given herself permission to look upon rest as a necessity. She finds it hard to believe that she has earned the time to recharge, while knowing that others are working hard. I say: Go for it Shonda. And what about you? Do you, or would you, go for it? Those peaceful moments to recharge your batteries?