Gini Dietrich

How Important Is It to Unplug

By: Gini Dietrich | August 26, 2010 | 

My good friend Angelica Colantuoni asks, “How important is it to unplug? How often do you unplug to refresh?”

My answer is in the video. What say you?

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About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Great topic! I was just discussing this on a FB video today because I think a lot of people experience burnout. I experienced burnout in my volunteer role a few times over the past 3 years and having 1 full day unplugged every week helps. I also have people fill in for me when I can tell I’m about to break so it doesn’t get too bad.

    Recently our family traveled through 10 countries in 1 month – having time alone to myself every day was the only way I survived!

    • First of all, I’ll get you back for telling everyone the rationale behind my twitter handle. And you know I will.

      Second, I wanted to know for both reasons…because I do know you and because I really want to know if people unplug! I’ve recently experienced that need but feel like many people never, ever take a break from social media. I’ve noticed I’m much more excited, inspired and motivated to be online after I’ve let myself unplug.

      Looking forward to everyone’s thoughts and thanks for indulging my question!

  • I almost never completely unplug. I really can’t afford to right now, so I’m working nearly constantly. Now that a beautiful and intelligent woman entered my life this has become … how shall I say … a point of discussion between us.

    I’m pretty sure there will be some downtime in my future. 🙂

  • Unplugging is absolutely critical to sustained success both for you and those who look to you for leadership and management.

    I work from my home office. The door closes on Friday evening and reopens Sunday night prior to retiring to confirm time of first appointment Monday morning.

    I go on vacation and unplug from my work and do the things I enjoy (as you mentioned in your video – if its fun its not work).

    If my subordinates can’t function without me, shame on me. Their ability to function without my micromanaging and decision making isn’t in their best interests and certainly isn’t in the company’s best interest.

    So yes – unplugging gets my batteries charged and I literally jump out of bed every morning at ~4am to meet the day.

    Great piece,

  • It’s a conundrum, and at times a “catch 22” but I feel that not taking a break, not unplugging, while making us intellectually feel we’re “working harder” actually leads to a burnout factor, fatigue, that leads to less work being accomplished, despite putting in long hours. That being said, I try to “unplug” for at least a day, and allow my already overstimulated brain to rest. After all, those aging synapses need a break at times.

    In addition, the more I learn (as amateurishly as I do) about neuroscience, I’m convinced that my creativity, my innovative thoughts diminish and at times disappear if I don’t take a break to replenish whatever neurohormone is being taxed by my ongoing ADHD with connectivity. It’s a limited, finite resource, and needs an opportunity to be replenished.

    Now if just the rest of the world would do the same, I wouldn’t feel to perpetually far behind.

  • When I first started dabbling in social media for business purposes I never (bold that never) unplugged. I wanted to read everything available and interact with everyone. (I’m still like this most of the time).

    But I think it’s important to take a couple days off every week so that you look forward to it again. You will burn out if you are constantly “plugged in”. I try and keep the weekends business free.

    I think Gini deserves a much needed vacation too!

  • My experience has been that if I am too wrapped up in technology for too many hours of my week, my creativity and productivity declines. When I am so busy reading other people’s info, providing feedback and interacting, it gives me no downtime to think.

    You know how you try so hard to remember something and you just can’t. Then you take a break from trying and it just pops into your head? I think technology can be like that. It provides a distraction within your thought processes and if you never take a break, you never give yourself “Eureka!” moments.

    Just a thought.

  • Molli Megasko

    I love this post in fact, I’m currently writing a follow-up to it highlighting the pros of unplugging, well at least digesting. While doing some research for it I came across this article on the dangers of unplugging and find it speaks directly to what Gini is saying, still do what you enjoy!

    “Quitting digital devices entirely, as with any addiction, is a disaster waiting to happen if you don’t have a support system in place.”

    Tune in next week for a summary on why our brains need downtime from our digital devices.

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  • Dana: OMG! I would need downtime daily, too! If you ever need me to fill in for you, let me know. 🙂

    Angelica: I LOVE YOU! I think it’d be hilarious for people to try to figure out your phone number now. Heck, I don’t even know what it is – I know the area code and the last four digits.

    Erik: I require phones be put away at the dinner table. Other than that, I try to be pretty understanding – maybe you can work out a deal like that?

    Christopher: You are 100% correct in that if my team can’t survive without me, shame on ME.

    Gary: When I find a way to get us 10 extra hours in the day, you can be first on the list. I’m with you – I find I’m way more productive during the week if I didn’t work all weekend AND if I know I can’t procrastinate some things for the weekend.

    Samantha: Come kidnap me!

    Carla: I’m trying to remember what I was going to say to you and I can’t get it. HAHAHHA! I crack myself up. 🙂

    Molli: LOVE seeing you commenting! See people, she IS a rock star!

  • I never used to unplug. I used to have everything continuously on, and even when I was relaxing, I’d be in front of the computer screen.

    Then I had my recent health issues, and part of the reason was my immune system was wiped out from not being able to rest between “work hours”. That brought home to me just how important it is to unplug.

    Although I do get antsy if I haven’t blogged in a while… 😉

    • Danny, the only time I’ve known you NOT to blog is when you were out for health reasons and there was still activity on your blog. So what is this antsiness (is that a word?) you speak of?!?

      While I have you, I have a question. How the heck do you find time to post in so many different places? I just got a Google alert from your Amplify site. Did you figure out the clone issue and you’re not telling me??

      • Of course it’s a word – you doubt my authority of the English language? 😉

        I just have a ton of ideas bubbling around in my head, and I always want to blog them right there. 🙂

        Ha, I’m just checking out Amplify more from a curiosity angle than anything. I’ve seen a few of my posts shared this way, and also heard good things about it from people I respect.

        So far, it looks pretty cool, and a great way to expand on a standard tweet. The only concern I have is that it takes away attention from the main post itself – I’ll be looking at how many folks click through to the fuller article on the originating blog.

        • Um, I was doubting MY use of the English language. Maybe we’ll get you to Counselors Academy in Vegas next year and you can take Daryl Salerno’s “English as a second language” course. I failed this year.

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  • My family, living in Silicon Valley, recently unplugged for an entire year! It was so difficult, but so worthwhile. It was a life-changing experience. You can read more about our story at
    Sharael Kolberg

    • Sharael, this is fantastic! I’m going to go read your blog now!!

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