Episode 48

#048 - Digital Disconnect and Slowing Down

Published on: 20th July, 2021

Today the crew is back from 4th of July vacations and spend some time talking about how to unwind in the middle of a busy work-year. We all have slightly different approaches to taking time off and strategies to unwind as effectively as possible during the precious few vacation weeks we invest during our careers.

Thanks for joining us today and don't forget to hit the subscribe button or reach out at [email protected].


Charles Knight 0:05

Cuz I want to get back into this into a good cadence and rebuild some content.

Robert Greiner 0:11

I missed recording with y'all.

Igor Geyfman 0:13

me too?

Charles Knight 0:13

Me too.

Robert Greiner 0:14

I feel like this is a good balance of edutainment. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Igor Geyfman 0:18

gotta cut that part out, Robert.

Robert Greiner 0:20

I'll definitely cut all this out. Yeah, don't worry, my audio editing scalpel is liberal. Alright, we'll do nine lies wrap up Thursday. So I'll be ready to talk about that.

Charles Knight 0:38

Hey, Robert, do you still like doing the audio engineering? Have you thought about outsourcing that or not yet?

Robert Greiner 0:45

Yes. And yes, yes, I like it. It's really my only creative hobby. And yes, I've thought about outsourcing. It doesn't take a ton of time. Now that I have it all figured out. I would not want to edit other people's stuff, though. Today, we're just stretching our legs getting back in to the swing of things. First, I want to hear about yells, PTO, how'd it go? I do feel recharged. Did you take it out the right time,

Charles Knight 1:08

I certainly feel recharged. I've had to vacation times so far, and did a lot but spread it out, like throughout the week. And so I'd never really felt rushed. Actually, I take it back. I draw a very distinct line between family trips, and vacations. And so I took time off for family trips. Next week, I have a vacation, I spread out all the different activities for the family trips to where I don't feel like I need a vacation from the family trip. And that's a common theme that I hear from people, oh, I spent the weekend with my family. And I'm now worn out and now have to go back to work. Just take an extra day to yourself after that and avoid that stuff.

Robert Greiner 1:54

Or and also on the same note, if you have trouble unplugging from a vacation, if you find yourself checking email, things like that, if you can add a few days ahead of time to help ease into a vacation. So it's not like a light switch. One day, you're 100% engaged at work and the next day, you're supposed to shut all that off. That's, you know, putting some buffer on either end I think makes a lot of sense.

Charles Knight 2:14

Yep, totally agree. But I didn't feel like I really needed time off. But I certainly enjoyed it

when I took it.

Igor Geyfman 2:23

away from work was summer of:

Robert Greiner 3:10

I just had two weeks off. So the first week was just unwinding. I had a few things I needed to get done around the house, the thing I struggle with is definitely winding down into vacation. And then the family and I went to Galveston with so as me Diana, the two kids Diana's his brother, his fiance, and my in laws, mother in law, father in law. And so we rented a house in Galveston and spent the week there was a lot of fun. Kids are old enough now they travel really well. It was a great way to disconnect unwind. And I deleted all the email apps off my phone and you know, things like that. So I was relatively uninterrupted, which was nice.

Charles Knight 3:46

So the email app thing deleting is that because if it's there, you will check it or so really so you do you have notifications on for email apps, every time you get you know get a notification.

Robert Greiner 4:01

No, I turn all of my notifications off for almost everything on my laptop and phone. Yep, I have Do Not Disturb set for numbers that I don't know. So just go straight to voicemail.

Charles Knight 4:13

Is that what happened when I tried to call you today? on the phone

Robert Greiner 4:17

no i saw i missed a call from now isn't a meeting. He acted like I was

Igor Geyfman 4:24

like, hold on. I'm doing nothing

Robert Greiner 4:27

You're on my blocklist Yeah. What's actually have a very healthy blocked numbers list which you are not on Charles. Sure. You actually my favorite allegedly here in my favorites. So favorites. Yeah,

Igor Geyfman 4:40

Not even a category.

Robert Greiner 4:40

Yeah, I pull, I sort of instinctively pull the phone out and check my email. So what I did also is I use the pocket app for reading articles. And I had already queued up a bunch of stuff I wanted to read and I would either leave my phone, I tried to leave my phone like in the room and just have my Kindle with me which was nice. But also, I put the pocket sort of app icon where my email was. And so if I ever pulled out my phone, I think it happened a couple of times, where and I would just pull it out and instinctively go to where the email app was, I would see pocket. And I would try to read as purely because of a lack of self control, I turned my phone into a dumb phone, I probably have 10 or 15 apps on there. Now, no infinity apps, I'll slowly add some back over time. But it's really easy to add apps back after you delete them, but there's some friction. And so like in the moment, it kind of short circuits, the impulse,

which is nice,

Charles Knight 5:34

but you didn't want to go all the way and just leave your phone at home sort of thing.

Robert Greiner 5:39

I leftmy laptop at home. And so there's really no work I could have done. I have an iPad, but I don't really have a lot of work stuff on it's sort of more of like a media device. There weren't really a lot of opportunities to engage with work unless I had to sit down and connect to the Wi Fi and get all my apps re downloaded and everything. And so there was enough friction to where that that didn't happen. And I didn't really feel like I needed to. Yeah, but it's good. I felt more present.

Charles Knight 6:06

Yeah, that's good. Igor, do you turn off notifications for all of your apps on your phone?

Igor Geyfman 6:12

after my first sabbatical in:

Robert Greiner 6:38

except me, yeah, I just call you for the heck of it.

Igor Geyfman 6:42

That's true, you're on a special list, and

Robert Greiner 6:44

You and Charles are on my rotating list of when I'm in the car, I just want to chat.

Igor Geyfman 6:47

You're my specialist. And it's great not having notifications, and not being bothered by interrupted by stuff. I'm just like, Robert, though, I don't have as good as self control as I want. And so I don't delete them. But I put them in a folder, if that makes sense. And so I put slack and email, outlook in a folder. So I just don't have it on my home page. And it's harder to get to.

Robert Greiner 7:17

Yeah, that wouldn't be enough for me. If that works, sometimes just a little bit of friction.

Igor Geyfman 7:22

I just forget what folder it's in. Like, it's just, it's not staring at me every time I open up my my homepage, you

Robert Greiner 7:28

know, that's funny, because on the iPhone, I don't know where anything's at, always just swipe down and hit the first couple characters. So I'm more of like a search.

Igor Geyfman 7:37

That's true, except for me, my my homepage, which is the first screen I guess just has all of my most used apps on it. And so if I'm looking at it, it's got slack. It's got outlook. Google Maps, it's got Audible, it's got pocket. SoundCloud, Amazon. Yeah. And then everything else I search for, because it's just too much stuff on the phone.

Robert Greiner 8:04

What about you, Charles? How do you combat that?

Charles Knight 8:06

Yeah, I've had notifications off for years. I really wonder how many people we work with do that. Is that a common thing? Do most people do that? You think? Or is that? Is that a minority? Are we a minority?

Robert Greiner 8:20

I don't know, the older I get. And the more that I become aware of sort of the downsides of these infinity apps, infinity services, where you can just get on Reddit, you can get on Twitter, and you can literally scroll forever, the more that I realized that those are harmful. To me at least more than helpful. I tend to get a little bit more aggressive about deleting stuff, avoiding stuff, but I don't know, I know a bunch of people who are the opposite. And it seems fine. Yeah,

Charles Knight 8:47

I can't handle notifications. I aggressively get rid of them. Just like I do newsletters. In my email. I get I still get emails. It's like, when did I subscribe to this is probably a decade ago or something. And unsubscribe. I think probably recently I've developed a little more self control around habitually checking email. Because when I was on vacation, it was pretty easy for me to just check Gmail and not the Outlook app. And I those are the ones personal the other ones work related. So I don't feel I don't feel super compelled to leave my phone at home or to uninstall apps, although I have done that in the past for sure.

Robert Greiner 9:26

he's been basically in since:

Charles Knight:

You know, for me, at least, it's not the Infinity apps. It's the oh my gosh, what if something happens to my kids when I'm gone, and somebody needs to contact me, one of the things that even with all the notifications off that comes with having a smartphone on you the whole time is that you can connect with people at any time that you want. And you can be accessed at any time that you want. by picking up the phone and calling I've had to do some just personal reckoning around. If there is an emergency, I need to tell the people that need to know to call the retreat center, the landline, because mobile phones don't work. There's alternate ways to deal with the fact that you feel compelled to stay connected and you know, accessible for the longest time I left my phone, not on Do Not Disturb while I sleep. It's like well, what if somebody calls me in the middle of the night, and I can't hear and I don't wake up, I have a lot of anxiety around that, that really isn't needed.

Robert Greiner:

I don't know how it is on Android. But on iPhone, you can set Do Not Disturb times. And you can set special ring tones for certain numbers. And you can say this is like an emergency number. And so you can go and configure those things. But the settings are pretty deep in the phone. And to your point earlier, I just don't know that a lot of people do it.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, yet we all are distracted the same ways like we we handle distraction so poorly. I just think the the phones are so powerful, they become an easy coping mechanism. Instead of confronting the anxiety that we have around. What if there's an emergency in my family needs to get in touch with me, we'd much rather just stay always on always connected all the time. And Android By the way, it does have the same things. If somebody calls me twice, during Do Not Disturb, it'll go through the second time. That's a you can set up certain people to go through and all that other stuff, too.

Robert Greiner:

I think it's mostly at the point now where those features come out on Android first, one other thing I wanted to talk about. So I read this other article on vacation, these researchers studied the effects on employee health and well being and how the role of vacation in the activities experiences sleep, and ability to savor experiences and positivity while you're on vacation, how those impacts your mental health. And they say, health and well being. So this is an article on springerlink research paper, Jessica Doubloon. And that's in the Journal of happiness studies. So this is fairly related to our perma v series and has like a career work life balance aspect to it. So I think it's pretty applicable. Again, I'll put the link in the show notes. And they say health and well being increases quickly during vacation and peaks on the eighth vacation day. So that's kind of an interesting takeaway that it takes eight days to peak. And then you start to get this stability and then you rapidly return to baseline level within the first week of going back to work. Charles, you mentioned this earlier, if you go on a family vacation, which is different than a leisure vacation and you Hurry, hurry, hurry all these activities one after another and you come back worn out, you actually probably are in a worse spot. Because all the benefits that you accrue, that you receive while on vacation, evaporate very quickly. There's like an idea of how to reengage back into work slowly and set things up. If you know that that first week back is going to essentially kill all the positive health and wellbeing benefits you got from vacation and you probably already spent a bunch of money right and you used a finite amount of vacation days that you have every year. There's probably some things you could think about doing as you re enter that prolong that health and well being mental health and wellbeing benefit You come back. And I think a lot of it has to do with not coming back to in jumping right back into it. But maybe taking another day or two on the other end or block some time out on your calendar, so you're less busy when you come back, something like that,

Charles Knight:

I think we could put together a whole episode around strategies to optimize for time off read either both in preparation. And upon return, I think the short version that I would say is that it's very easy to just view time off as an escape, like from work from current home situation if you're traveling. And that's often when I think I don't prepare in advance. And I try to cram everything in to the week prior. So that way I can take some time off. And then I don't think about coming back and re entering intentionally, it's when I'm just viewing it as an escape I get I've been really trying to think about, vacations are nice time off is nice, but so is dead time. So is the time when I'm driving my kids in the car, like we're not doing anything fancy, I can be happy in that moment, too, if I don't let traffic get to me. And if I don't get annoyed that they want to play the same song over and over again, on Spotify, or whatever,

Robert Greiner:

I think I've just been thinking a lot about trying to be more intentional with whatever time that I have, even if it's not time off, their research backs you up. So passive activities and sleep. I think when you're passive, basically you're just not doing much of anything, time spent on passive activity substantially increased health and well being on vacation instead of sleep. But if you look at like social activities that those had basically no, no impact, right on this study. So if you go into buisiness, if you go into a large group of people, it is neutral at best, which is kind of interesting. And so physical activities as well. You know, it's kind of interesting. So if you go like kite surfing or whatever, that might actually not help you too much unless you really like it. So instead of cramming a bunch of experiences in focusing on sleeping well hanging out with the core people that you're there to be with anyway, and engaging in passive activities. Were just kind of like slowly, like slowing down your pace are all at least from this research study, accretive to your your positive health.

Charles Knight:

I've been really intentional around trying to maximize sleep, quality of sleep, schedule, discipline around going to sleep and stuff like that. And yeah, I get in what prompted it was I just traveled, driven late at night to get to a destination to visit my brother and his family and Little Rock and had cranky kids. And I was cranky. You know, the next day, I was like, Wait a second. This doesn't need to be this way. So I was like, You know what, I'm going to bed, like at 730 or something, woke up the next day feeling incredibly refreshed. And from then on out the whole trip was completely different in a positive way. Anyway, cool research, look forward to reading it.

Robert Greiner:

Before you went to sleep and kind of reset, which I think was helpful in and of itself. You were really like rushed hurried, right? Yeah, I think I just can't, I can't think of any time where if you're in a rush, if you're in a hurry, good things happen. And I was thinking about that, because we drove down to Galveston, and I remember talking to my wife, I was like, Hey, I don't really want to leave at the same time as your parents. I don't want to try to convoy with them. Because your dad's going to drive faster than I want to. I just I don't really want to rush. I don't want to get a ticket. I don't want to deal with that when I come back. The kids are in the car. Like I just don't really feel like rushing too much. And it was drizzling. I remember on the way down like most of the way because of the hurricane, right. And there were these cars just doing ridiculous things. And usually I'm maybe I'm driving fast enough to where that doesn't seem as extreme. But they're like all this effort just to get in one two cars ahead swerving around while it's raining. And I remember what I was doing, because I didn't really want to go any faster. So I remember I just took that time to like back off a little bit. And driving is one of those things where I really, I can feel myself getting worked up. Because I'm always in a hurry. And I felt less hurried. And it seems I don't know, I felt like I I took a five hour drive. The kids were great. We had a good time. And so I know that really helped is when everyone that you're with is all on the same page. But it just it seemed like a better thing. And so I'm wondering if there's some kind of short circuit idea there around if you've, if you're feeling hurried, like you got to just back off of that because nothing good ever happens.

Charles Knight:

Totally agree. On the way back from my trip. I made it a point for myself. And then also with the kids. I was like, Look, we're gonna take our time getting home. And it's like we're not in a rush. We got plenty of time. We can stop as much as we want to and need to. Let's just take our time and that was the easiest five and a half hour drive that I've had with them ever. And in fact, it didn't actually take any longer. And yet it felt so much better. Because I just let go of this feeling of I need to get back to Dallas as soon as possible, which is not true.

Igor Geyfman:

Hey, Robert, can you hear me?

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, I can hear you now,

Igor Geyfman:

Sorry, that was like some sort of weird like, disconnect or something. To me, there's two modes. And at work, I create, like synthetic urgency, because that's what helps me get stuff done. But when I take time off, I really try not to create any urgency whatsoever. And what that usually means is just being very adaptive and flexible, about what I'm doing. And if I want to spend an extra time, an extra day, staying in some city somewhere, I'll just go do that. And sometimes that involves some sort of waste, maybe I'll, I won't get money back for a hotel room or something like that. But that's like a small price to pay for emotional and mental freedom to do things at a pace that feels right at the moment. And so I'm with y'all on that. And like as, as you're having the discussion and talking about taking the pressure off yourself, or on that road trip saying, okay, we're just gonna stop as many times as we want. And that's okay. There's nothing. There's Why are we used in such a rush to, to get back to Dallas? I think is a, it's a really great question. And a lot of times, we're in this mode, and we don't question it. And if you really step back and say like, Hey, you know, maybe it doesn't need to be that way, works out really well. And I think that's the sort of stepping away that we can do a lot, not just on vacation, just in general. And I definitely want to take time off, I try to be as loose as possible. With like itineraries and stuff to do, because just doesn't doesn't make sense to stress yourself out on vacation.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, we should talk about that more. I like the idea of Charles of having an episode on effective vacations, because it as we're thinking out loud about this, it does seem silly to invest to spend so much of the most finite resources we have, which are like vacation days, in a year, like we just don't get that many. And then to rush to try to get through and rush through a positive experience to get to another experience when you're already having a good time. Like, you can eek a lot more out of fewer things, I think, then by quality over quantity kind of argument here. And then how to how to balance the book ends, I think is so important. And that's not something I've thought about until you know what, this week last week, which is not great. Like I took a lot, I've taken a lot of vacations in my life. And then I probably could have done it much, much better.

Charles Knight:

We've spent so much time in a certain mode Igor, like you said, it wasn't until I took my first sabbatical years ago, for an extended period of time where I realized I remember the first day back from taking off three months. And jumping right back into a day full of it was a Tuesday. So we have a lot of internal meetings on Tuesdays. And after the first meeting, I felt sick to my stomach. And I had a headache because of I don't know, maybe it's overstimulation and also sensing kind of the urgency from others in the room, because it was one of those management team meetings where we go around and we talk about important things. I was like, What am I doing? I need to rethink how I'm re entering. And so after that meeting, I just went home, like I went home and I took the rest of the day off. And then thought about Do I really need to be in these meetings? Yeah, and then kind of declared calendar bankruptcy, and then thoughtfully re added them, just like you will thoughtfully add and reinstall apps, like as you need them. And as you validate their worth. I think we can do that with our time whenever we come back from vacation as well.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Speaking of time, we're up on time. So I know you'll have a hard stop and so do I. So back to the rush. Good to see all i'm glad everyone's back recharged, I think next week, next episode we'll talk about we'll wrap up nine lies about work and then we'll get into some of our future ideas as well. So in the next couple series and things like that, which should be fun.

Charles Knight:

Yeah. Looking forward to.

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah, me too.

Robert Greiner:

Alright, y'all. Well have a good one. great talking to you.

Charles Knight:

Yeah, take care.

Igor Geyfman:

great to talk to you.

Robert Greiner:

That's it for today. Thanks for joining and don't forget to follow us on Twitter @wannagrabcoffee or drop us a line at [email protected]

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