I'll bet you missed it: National Day of Unplugging. Maybe next year?

I bet you missed it: National Day of Unplugging. It was last Thursday. Maybe next year?

“I totally forgot how much I love the sound of the engine in my car,” a coaching client exclaimed. He re-discovered the simple pleasure after accepting my challenge to unplug.

In just one week of driving home with his cell phone and XM radio turned off, his wife and kids noticed he was calm and happy again at the dinner table. His twelve year old daughter asked: “Are you OK?” because she’d only seen him distracted and stressed.

Last Thursday was National Day of Unplugging – while not yet a Hallmark Holiday, the idea is gaining momentum in personal leadership coaching. Here’s the theory: if you “unplug” from all your devices for a full 24 hours you will rediscover the joy of living a simpler life. And the people around you will notice – like the frenzied executive you met at the opening of this blog.

Anyone committed to the traditional work week is unlikely to fully-accept a Thursday 24-hour challenge. (Would Saturday be better?) Although, digging into the Unplug web site,  it’s amazing how many white-collar devotees are on board with the movement.

You'll find this pic, and thousands of others who have embraced the 'unplug' idea.

You’ll find this picture and thousands of others who have embraced the ‘unplug’ idea.

The point is still growing increasingly relevant, reinforced recently by Nitin Nohria, the Dean of the Harvard Business School. He sponsored a faculty research project to answer the question: what one thing do the most successful Harvard alumni have in common? The answer: they were highly skilled at reflecting.

In other words, they frequently unplugged and engaged in honest self-assessment to stay calm, focused, humble and positive.

If you were a coaching client of our firm, you would hear this theme consistently in our point of view. The best leaders make at least one hour a day to unplug so they can remain emotionally, spiritually and physically resilient. I recommend unplugging at least 30 minutes after rising, and 30 minutes before bedtime.

Unplug. Shut. It. Off. Seriously.


Melinda and I unplug to celebrate the Seven Fs.


Once you experience the relief and joy of one hour…two is twice as nice.

Me?  I’m shutting down four days this week in the Caribbean. My daughter Anna’s high school show choir is performing on a cruise ship. What a glorious boondoggle! If you need to reach me…send a text message to Melinda, because I’m unplugged.

Good leaders make a habit of shutting off their devices at least one hour every day. And they use their media-free time for workouts, rest and reflection to help them stay calm, focused and radiating goodness.

NOTE: you can download the “Unplug” poster at the National Day of Unplugging web site, and upload your picture like this!

Our readers will appreciate knowing: What do you you do when you are unplugged?