It’s No Interruptions Day!

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The last days of the year are ticking down, soon it will be time to ring in 2017. I bet you’re thinking, “But I still have so much to do in 2016!” and are rushing around to finish up those last few projects. We all have so much on our plates that time just tends to get away from us. Some days we get so distracted we can’t remember what the original project we started on was. If this sounds like you join us in celebrating No Interruptions Day!

No Interruptions Day celebrates the last work day of the year and aims to help us all concentrate and round out the year feeling accomplished, as well as allow us to walk into the office in the new year with a clean slate. This year, No Interruptions Day is Friday, December 30 (unless you work weekends too, by all means, celebrate on the 31st). So let’s take some time to get centered and finish this year out right!

Here are some ways you can celebrate in the office this year:

  • Make it an office-wide event–Get the word out and let the office know about No Interruptions Day. Broadcast it through your company intranet and encourage clients and/or family to take part as well. By making it a group effort you’ll be able to accomplish more. This also lowers the likelihood being distracted by co-workers, family, or others (unless it’s an emergency) as you’ll all be focusing on year-end projects.
  • Turn off your cell phone–Our cell phones go everywhere with us, even to bed. On the 30th (or whatever day you decide to celebrate), leave your phone at home, or shut it off and keep it out of sight. This way you won’t be tempted to check any of your social media accounts or personal texts that tend to derail your focus.
  • Shut your door–If you are lucky enough to have an office door, shut it and place an educational note about No Interruptions Day and how you are celebrating on it. This way others will be less likely to intrude on your “work holiday” and you’ll be able to concentrate better by having the noise of normal office commotion deadened by the door.
  • Noise canceling headphones/Music–Not lucky enough to have an office door? If you are distracted by background noises consider bringing in some noise canceling headphones to help you focus. Are you motivated by music rather than silence? Bring in your headphones and shuffle your favorite playlist. If you are looking for playlists that will help you concentrate check out this list for some inspiration.
  • Make a plan–Much of our day in the office is taken up by replying back and forth to emails or returning phone calls. Try and make a plan to best manage your time and optimize it. Set aside a specific time period when you will check your messages, address them, and then move on to your next project.

We wish you all productive last days of 2016 and hope you have a successful and prosperous 2017. If you are planning on celebrating No Interruptions Day let us know! If you have suggestions on ways to participate share them with us!

New Year, New Office: 5 Resolutions for the Workplace

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Looking out my window, the snow has finally begun to fly. In a few weeks, Christmas will be upon us and after that New Years. With the ringing in of 2017, we all want to start fresh. New year, new you, right? What about new year, new office? Here are five office New Year’s resolutions to help get you started with your list.

1. Get and stay organized–If you are anything like me and your desk looks like a tornado hit it, this might be a good idea. I am always digging through piles hoping the document I need hasn’t been thrown away. I can’t imagine how much time I’ve wasted just looking for a Post-it with a phone number I wrote down days ago. By taking the time to organize your desk each evening before you leave and developing a better filing system, you can help save your sanity and save time.

2. Stay Positive–We all have days that try our patience, and sometimes all we want to do is complain. Though venting serves a purpose, it can spiral out of control and create a culture of negativity. This hurts productivity and quality of work. By trying to look at challenges in a different, more positive way it can change your mood and your work. When presented with a challenge instead of outwardly expressing your irritation, take a second to breathe and reform your thoughts.

3. Get Healthy–Many people include a health goal as part of their resolutions so bringing that to the office is only logical. If you have snacks in your desk take inventory and try to remove any bad temptations. Take it a step further and organize a workout challenge group in the office and cheer each other on towards your goal.

4. Give More–There’s something about giving a present to someone or contributing (time or money) to a good cause that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Taking time to give more in the workplace can help build better relationships with your co-workers and create a culture of caring. This can be a two-part resolution, internal and external. Part one: Start by giving more within the office and making small gestures among co-workers. If you know a co-worker is having a bad day, buy him or her a snack to help cheer them up. Part two: Take things outside of the office and volunteer as a group for a non-profit of your choice. For help and ideas on how to do this visit the Tapolci Foundation.

5. Focus on the Mission–The new year is always a great time to evaluate and re-focus your mission, be it organization-wide or just departmental. Getting everyone on board and moving in the right direction will help you conquer the year ahead effectively.

Making New Year’s Resolutions is a tradition. We’d love to know what you have done in the past and what you are planning for in the future. What office resolutions did we miss? Do you have any suggestions on how to successfully keep them?

5 Ways to Prioritize Your Time During the Holidays

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Thanksgiving is behind us. We all returned to work this week with full stomachs and a growing to-do list. This time of the year always seems like a whirlwind, in the office and at home. If you are like me, you make a list of all the things you need to accomplish before the holidays and the end of the year, all the events you have coming up, and what you still need to run to the store to pick up. As I make this list, I grow anxious, and at times overwhelmed. We’re busy all throughout the year, but there’s something about the holidays and the coming new year that makes it seem even more urgent. How can we make the most of the last month of 2016? Here are five ways you can prioritize your time, fit in all your holiday activities, and make strides in the office as well.

1. Make a List – “He’s making a list and checking it twice…” we all know how the rest of the song goes. Hey, if it works for Santa it should work for us too, right? We all have multiple to-do lists; one for work, another for home, shopping lists, and more. Keeping lists is a great way to organize your thoughts and get a game plan together. I know it’s a simple suggestion but that’s the beauty of it.

2. Keep a Routine – This time of year is all about traditions; try to keep to your routine as much as possible during the day. This will help you stay focused, especially in the work place. Not deviating much from your normal routine will help you be less stressed and able to work more effectively.

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3. Delegate – During this time of the year there is usually family around; or maybe you have/know some kids who are looking to score a few extra brownie points before the big guy in red comes down the chimney. They may not be able to help you with office work, but you can definitely use those around you at home as a resource. One less thing on your mind and your to-do list will help you concentrate on bigger more pressing tasks.

4. Categorize – When you made your list I bet you noticed that some overlap. When working through your list, complete tasks that are related rather than jumping all over the place, it’ll save you time, energy, and even some sanity.

5. Reflect – Another big part of the holiday season is reflecting on the year that was. As you rush to finish all your work, take a moment, step back, and reflect. Take time to evaluate what truly needs to be completed and what can wait until the next year. Some things you will not be able to complete in this short period of time. Recognizing this will help you be less stressed and more successful in completing the projects that are time sensitive.

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of the season. We all feel pressure from many directions–from work, from our family, and from ourselves. We want everything to be perfect. By taking time to step back and prioritize our work, hopefully the holidays will be less stressful and we will be able to enjoy the season and each other.

Do you have any other suggestions for prioritizing during the holidays? What type of tasks do you have on your to do list in December and how are you conquering them? Let’s help each other create a strategy for the best way to accomplish our goals in this last month!

An Office Thanksgiving: 7 Ways to Show Employees You are Thankful for Their Work

img_4130The start of the holiday season is upon us. In just about a week we will gather with family and friends and gobble down as much turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing as our belly will allow. We will enjoy each other’s company and be thankful for many things. We know how to celebrate with our family but what about our work family? What are we thankful for in the office? How can we show our employees we are thankful for them?

You and your staff have worked hard during this year and are starting to look forward to the holiday break. Before cooking the turkey and hitting the Black Friday sales, take inventory of what your office should be thankful for this time of the year. Ask for input from employees. Make it an office community activity. Most importantly, don’t forget to thank your employees! While free turkeys are great, here are some other ways to show your fellow workers you are grateful for them and all they do.

Tell Them! It sounds so simple and it is, but everyone likes to know they are appreciated! You can write a card, send out and email, or give them a pat on the back. Just say Thank You!

Give a Small Gift: Again, this can be super simple, maybe it’s a gift card for gas or coffee, or a catered lunch or surprise dessert bar.

Celebrate Accomplishments and Milestones: Have employees who have been furthering their education and earned new degrees or certifications? What about those in the office who have gotten engaged/married or had a child? Take time to congratulate them; be thankful for their accomplishments and new beginnings.

Have an Office Thanksgiving! This is the time of year we loosen our belt buckles and share meals together. Take time to relax; celebrate as a work family for all the things you are grateful for as an organization.

Give Them Time Off: It’s a busy time of year. If possible, be flexible with employee schedules and let them take the time they need with their families. Take it from a former retail worker, breaks during the holiday are needed and greatly appreciated.

Donate on Their Behalf: Many employees burn the candle at both ends, working to support their family during the day, then working to help others in their free time. Show you are grateful for their hard work and sacrifice by donating to their cause.

Relax the Dress Code: Within reason, say thanks for your great work by letting employees let their hair down and relax while continuing to be productive.

What are you and your organization thankful for this year? How do you show employees they are appreciated and you are grateful for their hard work? Let us know what we’ve missed.

Most importantly have a great Thanksgiving and eat as much turkey and pie as you can!

How to Cope with Stress During the Holiday Season

October has passed and the days are getting shorter and shorter. For the last month or so Christmas displays have been slowly occupying more space at retailers. The holiday season is upon us. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” or so the old song goes, but it can also be the most stressful time of the year. On top of our already busy schedules we are all preparing for the festivities, visiting family and friends, and shopping (oh so much shopping). This is the time of year that retailers begin to see a profit (hence Black Friday), and other industries are working to wrap up projects before heading into the new year. With all of this going on it’s easy to become stressed. During what is marketed as the most joyful time of the year, how can we best cope with stress during the holiday season?

 What is Stress and What Causes It?

5242760927_cc8f6ca24d_bGood Question! Stress is very difficult to define because it can differ from person to person. What may cause one person great anticipation and agitation, can cause little to no effect on others. Public speaking is a common stressor for many people, however for some speaking in front of others is enjoyable and easy.

The National Institute of Mental Health gives this explanation of stress;

“Stress can be defined as the brain’s response to any demand. Many things can trigger this response, including change. Changes can be positive or negative, as well as real or perceived.”

There are also good stressors. Good stress or eustress is caused by beneficial emotions like excitement and in anticipation of positive events like riding a roller coaster or preparing for a big date. During the holiday season there is a lot of eustress around as well. If you are like I am, preparing your home for family visits or the excitement of decorating the Christmas tree are things you look forward to this time of year.

So what causes stress? Again, that’s a rough question to answer as it varies from person to person. There are some common stressors though, especially during the holidays, like money, family, time management issues. The American Psychological Association put together a report in 2006 outlining how holiday stressors impact us; of those interviewed for the report 85% stated that lack of time is their greatest cause of stress during the this time of year.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-8-13-23-pm-1Symptoms

Again, each person will react to stress differently; but, by being able to identify the symptoms of stress we can either learn to avoid what triggers such a response and how to best cope with it. According to the Mayo Clinic here some of the most common symptoms of stress are:

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Irritability or anger
  • Overeating or under-eating
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal

Coping Methods

If you start to notice you are exhibiting some of the symptoms above you can combat those feelings by using some of these coping methods:

  • Take time to breathe: During the holidays we can feel like there is not enough time to get all of our tasks done and lose ourselves in the throngs of fellow shoppers at the store. By taking a moment to just breathe and center yourself you can renew your focus and conquer your tasks.
  • Exercise: If you are feeling frustrated and restless work off your anger and excess energy by working out. My go to activity during stressful times is running. It gives me time to myself and I literally run off my stress. If you aren’t up for a heavy cardio session or the weather isn’t cooperative, think about yoga (you can do some breathing during this too), or walking on the treadmill.
  • Treat yourself: You’ve spent all day shopping for others grab yourself something nice, maybe some nice comfy PJs to snuggle up in later. Or, maybe you need some you time, pick up a candle/bubble bath in your favorite scent and take a bath that will soothe your aching muscles.
  • Make time for yourself and for sleep: This time of year the days grow shorter (don’t forget to move those clocks back this weekend!) and our lists of tasks grow longer. As you are running around completing your to-do list, make sure you pencil in time for yourself to relax and prepare for sleep. If you can set aside at least a half an hour before bed to unwind. Make sure this time does not include your cell phone or computer where you can be distracted by work, or holiday project planning.
  • Take time to laugh: Though sometimes our friends and family can be the cause of our stress, they can also help us cope with it. During this busy time take the time to actually enjoy your company and have a good laugh. That’s what this season is about anyways, fellowship and joy!

Don’t let the stress of the coming holiday season get to you. Remember to take time to breathe and enjoy those around you. This time of year is about togetherness more than it is about the present and decorations.

Did we miss anything? What stresses you out most during this time of the year, and how do you deal with it? Please share with us!

Not Enough Hours in the Day: Prioritizing and Time Management in the Office

My work day starts at 7:30 in the morning. Some days it doesn’t end until 6 in the evening; and I will take a “working” lunch. Let’s not even get started on the tasks that are waiting for me when I get home. There are so many tasks that need to be completed in a day, literally there are not enough hours in a day sometimes. I know my daily experiences are not unique. We all have busy schedules and wear many hats throughout the course of a day. So how do we fit it all in? What are the best ways to prioritize our precious time?

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Make a List

It sounds so simple doesn’t it? To me it always feels good to have a plan, and making a list always makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, even if I’ve yet to complete anything on said list. I feel even more accomplished when I get to cross something off my list! But, you must be organized when making your list. If you do not make a thoughtful to-do list, you will get no where.

Here are key steps to a successful to do lists:

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  1. Rank the most important jobs, the one that need done today go at the top. The jobs that need to get done in the next few days come next. The jobs that can wait until next week go at the bottom.
  2. Make the list a “living document;” continue to build on it daily. The tasks that you do not complete that day get moved up to the next priority category the next day. Add new tasks at the bottom. If it helps you can color code your priority levels.
  3. Evaluate your list at the end of each day, and edit tasks priority levels as needed. Doing this will also help you get an idea of how long it takes you complete certain tasks, and assist you in future planning.

If you need help organizing your thoughts and placing tasks into priority category make yourself a priority matrix:
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Make a Schedule

So you have your list and have mapped out what is on the agenda for today, but how do you know when you have spent enough time on one task? The simple answer is until it’s done, but we all know sometimes it’s just not possible. You could spend a whole month working on one task related to a long-term campaign. By setting specific time aside and schedulesticking to time parameters will help you fit more diverse work into a day. Assigning specific time periods to work on designated projects will also help you focus your attention. When making your schedule be sure to build in time to take a break and get up from your work so that you do not burn yourself out, as well as add “emergency time” in case of any unplanned issues that may pop up.

Expect the Unexpected

I know some of you have been reading this thinking, “List and schedules are a great idea but they do not fit my job functions”. I’m with you. In some positions you cannot plan how your day will progress in advance. Each day is a little different. There are still ways you can prioritize work as it comes at you, however. Here are some tips for those with positions like mine where the days can be unpredictable and everything is a priority.

  1. Realize you cannot be everywhere at once and it is OK to delegate lesser tasks. One of your colleagues who is available can place the order for the lunch room supplies if you have clients to work with.
  2. Set boundaries in your work. We all want to impress the higher ups, but sometimes you need to just say no. When you are good at what you do many times you can be pulled into others projects because you are reliable. While this is a good problem to have it can cause a lot of stress. If you have too much on your plate speak up.
  3. Be flexible and prepared to be pulled off task. In office settings where priorities are more fluid you’ll need to have good multitasking skills. Do not get irritated when you are pulled off a task for another; some things will need to be left undone or handed off to another.
  4. Teamwork is key. In situations where you may need to hand off tasks to another, try and establish a “we not me” outlook.

Time is precious and fleeting. Find what works for you and your work place, and remember to breathe. Something may have to wait until the next day. As you continue evaluate your work and make a habit of prioritizing tasks, what is important and what is not will become more apparent and you can manage your time more appropriately.

Do you have a technique for prioritizing work and managing time at the office? Share it with us!

The Perfect Fit: Finding the Right Candidate for the Job

The hiring process can be nerve racking from both ends of the spectrum. Applicants are working to tailor their resumes and cover letters for the “perfect job,” and those in charge of hiring are searching through stack upon stacks of applications hoping to find a diamond in the rough. When tasked with finding the “right applicant,” one can feel like he is Prince Charming in Cinderella (and we’re NOT talking about the Disney version); searching for the perfect fit and hoping for a happy ending. Though we might not all have fairy godmothers, following these suggestions can make the process easier, and help you select a charming new hire.cinderella candidate, the perfect fit

Be Up Front: When crafting a job posting make sure to bring the culture of your organization, specifically the environment of the position into your description. This however does not mean writing a book about your company. Giving a succinct but informative view of the job will help attract the right applicant.

Don’t stop with just the job posting; in all communications with potential hires, make sure they are aware of the full expectations of the job and what it is like to work in your organizational culture. This way they are not blindsided by a culture they may not fit into. You don’t want to push a wallflower into a loud boisterous culture and hope they come out of their shell.

Thin the Herd: When going through applications and weeding out potential candidates find one key thing, be it positive or negative, that will quickly help you decrease the number of resumes you need to comb through.

For example, I once had a manager that would automatically discard an application if the applicant asked for something to write with. They explained their logic stating “If you can’t be bothered to bring a pen to fill out your application, how can I expect you to be bothered to bring what you need to work”.

Check Social Media: Social media says a lot about potential new hires. This is who they are when they think no one is watching…even though they really are. If what you see there doesn’t match who you see on paper or in interviews, or doesn’t match your culture, move on.

Ask the Right Questions: When interviewing your most promising candidates make sure you aren’t leading them to give certain answers. Some people are pro’s at interviews, make sure you dig deeper.

help wantedHire from Within: Are you in the position to promote someone within your organization? Did you have a great intern in the past who is ready to enter the work force? These are always great options. These candidates already know the culture of your organization, know the systems, and know what is expected of them, making for an easier transition. Positives for you as a hiring manager or HR professional is that you already know what their personality is and how to motive them.

Someday your “perfect fit” will come, though you may just need to do some extra work to find him or her. The effort you put in to finding the right candidate will likely translate to the work that candidate will produce for you. So try and put to action some of the above before the carriage turns back into a pumpkin.

Generation Z: The Next Big Thing

When you hear the terms “Baby Boomer” or “Millennial” certain attributes come to mind. But, what about when you hear “Generation Z”? Most people would be looking at me like my dogs do when I ask them if they want a treat; head cocked to the side with a questioning expression. Generation Z, the iGeneration, or Homeland Generation as they are often referred to, are the next “up and coming” generation for employers, marketers, and retailers to be focusing on. As the generational cohort after the Millennials, this group is just starting to enter the workforce and flex their buying power. Let take a look at what makes the iGeneration tick.

Defining the Group

  • Follow Millennials in the generational time line born roughly around 1995-2010iGeneration
  • Ages range from  5 to 20 years old currently
  • Digital natives; can’t remember a time before the internet or social media
  • Too young to remember 9/11 or were not born yet
  • “Right now” culture
  • Practical

How are they Different from Millennials?

  • Prefer apps like Snapchat, Vine, and Whisper
  • Rarely use email for personal use
  • Virtual community just as important as their physical community
  • Have learned from Millennial’s social media mistakes

So how does this translate into the real world?

Let’s synthesize this information and paint a picture of how a stereotypical Generation Z’er acts. The iGeneration are the toddlers who knew how to work an iPhone better than their parents. Many are now getting ready to graduate high school or have just entered college or the workforce. The younger end of the spectrum is watching the “For Kids” sections on Netflix and have their own account log in. They live life on multiple screens and are experts at multitasking, surfing the net, texting, and watching YouTube at the same time. They watch a lot of shows but not on cable. They prefer streaming services. They post Snapchat videos that will “disappear” rather than tagging photos on Facebook for longer periods. Growing up in a post-9/11 culture and watching their parents work through the recession has given them a more practical view for their future plans. Many want to be an entrepreneur and make their hobby into a career. Though they are tech oriented they have very short attention spans. A marketer better be able to get the big pictures across in 5 seconds or less, otherwise this group has already moved on. They also rarely use email, and are probably part of the reason marketers have moved to texting deals to consumers rather than waste time on mass email blasts.

I see a lot of these qualities in my younger brother. The seven years between us put me in the Millennial group (I was born in 1989) and my brother is just on the cusp. Being born in 1996 is technically he is considered part of Generation Z. My brother has a Facebook but rarely uses it, instead he “Snaps” everything. Since I don’t have a Snapchat I just get screen shots of his antics texted to me. He is in his sophomore year in college. He was a toddler when 9/11 occurred and remembers little from that day (I can remember the exact outfit I was wearing), and both of our lives have been shaped by what happened that day. Currently my brother is pursuing a degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management; working to make his “hobby” (though I’d call it more of a passion) of being a volunteer firefighter and EMT a career. 

Take Aways

  • New group just starting to influence the market with their buying power with more to join them in the coming years
  • Do not lump them in with Millennials
  • Get to the point and fast
  • Forget Facebook and email
  • Make practical appeals

Do you have any other thoughts about Generation Z? How are they different from your generation?

Think Like a Leader: Cultivating Leaders in the Workplace

“What do you want for dinner?”

“I don’t care, what do you want?”

“I’m not sure, you pick.”

“No, you pick.”

How many times have we all had this conversation? For me, nearly every weekend my boyfriend and I have some form of this conversation, about dinner, TV shows/movies, or what to do that day. Now imagine having a circular conversation like this in the workplace when decisions need to be made. For some of you, maybe you don’t have to imagine. So how do you avoid this? You help your team to have confidence in their abilities and promote leadership.word cloud

“Empathy, respect for those you lead, and acceptance/execution of responsibility and commitment to your position. Cultivate by encouraging and recognizing strengths, giving practical tools and continued monitored support in weaknesses.” – Amanda H.

To begin, we need to define what a leader is. If you google the Merriam-Webster dictionary’s (remember when you actually had to buy those for school?) definition of a leader, there are several definitions given. Out of those, one stood out to me. A leader is: “a person who has commanding authority or influence”. Now, one may see the words commanding and authority as intimidating. Not what you’d like a workplace leader to be. But, let’s think of things in a different way. When looking for potential leaders in the work place, you want them to be an “authority” on specific aspects essential to your operation. You also want them to “command” certain attributes that will “influence” and motivate others.

“A leader takes the time to learn the job of the people they are managing. Also I would say a leader has to be a good listener, get to know more about the people you manage so you can help them grow.” – Aela S.

What you may want these individuals to be authorities on, which attributes to command, and how /what they influence may differ depending on your goals. No matter what your goals may be, one should be working to foster the growth of leadership in your organization from the newest employee to the most tenured. Why is it important to foster leadership in all employees? Won’t you end up with too many chiefs and not enough Indians? Not necessarily. Just because you foster leadership among your workforce, does not mean each person will be making essential decisions for your group; what it does mean is they can think for themselves, motivate each other, and make suggestions that will help innovate from the ground up.

Here are three easy ways you can encourage leadership in your work place.

Support Innovation– Has one of your employees made suggestions or found new work-arounds that will make day to day activities more productive? Give them credit, encourage others to do the same. Ask for input and value the opinions given. If employees know they will be heard and their suggestions given a chance, they will start to think more critically about their work environment.

Acknowledge Successes and Strengths– You may not be able to promote each employee that excels but you can acknowledge them. Acknowledging workplace leaders on their successes and reinforcing their strengths will encourage them to continue to produce and in turn they will influence others with their positive attitudes and work ethic.

Let Them Lead– Micromanaging is something no one is fond of. Though it may be hard to let your employees loose to figure out processes themselves, give them some freedom to adjust things, but only when needed. Letting employees problem solve themselves promotes critical thinking, which is a key leadership skill.

Take Time to Unplug: Vacation Destinations to Stay Off the Grid

It’s currently 88 degrees and sunny outside; and what am I doing? I am looking back and forth from my phone and my computer screen, inside, covered in a blanket because the air conditioning in my house is set to sub-arctic levels.  I need a vacation… Not just any vacation; a vacation from technology.  A trip where I can disconnect from the distractions of the internet and work, where I can focus on relaxing.

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How much time do you spend on your smartphone? Three hours a day? Four hours? More? According to a British psychological study whatever you estimate the time may be, you should double it. Checking our phones has become such a part of our daily routine that it’s ingrained in us. We don’t even realize we are doing it. We’re spending a lot of our day on Facebook or Instagram, too. In 2014 the average person spent 40 minutes per day on the social media sites. In 2016 it is now an average of 50 minutes. We take our phones to the bathroom; and have created new terms like Phantom Vibration Syndrome, and smartphone pinky. We are never without technology.

Believe it or not there are still some places cell phone reception and wifi are not accessible or reliable. If you are looking to take a vacation from technology, here are some great places to unwind where you won’t be sucked into your phone or computer.

The Wilds

My first thought on where to go to escape technology would be the woods camping. You can’t charge your phone when you’re living in a tent. But, roughing it in the woods isn’t my idea of relaxing. However, these locations could definitely provide the relief you need.

Emerald Lake Lodge, Canada : Enjoy the beautiful Canadian landscape in one of their cozy lodge rooms. Snuggle up to a fire in your in-suite fireplace or take in the views of the Rockies from your balcony. No interruptions from cell phones here since there is no reception at the lodge, and only wifi in the main lodge building.

Ultima Thule Lodge, Alaska : Don’t have a passport? Why not head to the great white north and this Alaskan getaway. The cabins only host a limited amount of guests at a time, and have their own onsite organic garden. They also have gourmet meals made with fresh-sourced salmon and game, stunning views, and comfortable cabins. You can only reach the resort by plane so it’s not hard to believe there is no cell service here.

The Beach

Still don’t think that the woods are the best place to relax or don’t think you could handle the cold of Alaska? There are still options. If you are a beach bum like I am, here are several places you can sun yourself and read a book or two in peace.

Campo Cortez Ecolodge, Mexico : If you really want to get off the grid this is the place. As an ecolodge, the cabins may be small but all modern amenities are available. Solar and wind powered electricity provide the ability to charge up some of your devices like a camera; something you will definitely want so you can capture the whales in the Baja area. No cell reception or TVs are in the cabins here though; so you can enjoy watching and learning about all the nature around you.

Little Palm Island, Florida : Now this is what I think of when escaping from reality for a bit. Beautiful beaches, warm sun, swimming with dolphins… Oh, and no television, phones, or guest under 16 (sorry if you were looking for a family vacation). I’m ready to pack my bags and pull a lounge chair up on the beach right now!

Don’t think you can go cold turkey from technology or don’t have time/money allotted for vacation right now?

Try taking baby steps and give yourself mini vacations each day. Carve out time every day where you put away everything, turn it all off, and read a book, have a nice dinner, or talk! If you sleep with your phone on your nightstand, move it out to another room and don’t touch it until morning. Whatever you do give yourself time to rest without distractions.