Digital Detox Friday – Work and Home life balance

We have spent the last detox fridays talking about the impact that mobile devices has on our free time and personal relationships.

This Friday we will look how to handle the work e-mails and phone calls after working hours and the balance between work and home.

Many employers give their employees work phones, tablet or laptops so that they will be able to work remotely. Nowadays it is not even uncommon that you are expected to read and reply to e-mails when you get home from work or even on your holiday. And even more often it is not even a demand from your employer, but many people feel a pressure to stay updated and check and reply their work e-mail in the evenings or even on their vacation.

A recent research published in Time Magazine showed that 52% of Americans check their work e-mail before and after their work and even when they are taking sick days. 40% also say that they do the same while on vacation. This of course makes our work/home life balance very complicated as we are never really off work.

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Many might feel a relief in replying a message instantly to save time and workload for the day after. But studies show that employees that stay work from home in evenings an on vacations more often have sleep problems, stress related problems and are more often sick. Our bodies need the mental break to recharge and recover.

The German car maker Daimier realised this and introduced a new e-mail policy – once their employees go on vacation, and the auto-response is turned on, the server automatically delete all the e-mails that come in. The auto-response the sender receives reads as following: ” I am on vacation. I cannot read your email. Your email is being deleted. Please contact Hans or Monika if it’s really important, or resend the email after I’m back in the office. Danke Schoen.”

The company report that the senders of e-mails rarely are annoyed with this response, but rather react positively to it.

But even if you are not working in Daimier, you can learn something from their policy. Most likely your employer is not forcing you to work after you get home or to check your e-mail during holidays, so try to turn it off. Don’t bring your work phone with you, turn off the e-mail notifications and take the time to relax, spend your time doing other stuff, recharge your battery and come back to work rested and more productive.

 

Why we need creativity

What do you think when you see this?

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Garbage? Useless?

Well some people look at it and think this:

Toilet-Roll-Sculpture-01 (1)

Made by french artist and sculptor Junior Fritz Jacquet

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Made by French artist Anastassia Elias

Creativity and imagination is becoming crucial skills for making it in the business world today.

We are seeing less and less of repetitive work and jobs were you simply wait around for instructions. If you want to make it in on today’s competitive job market, and even more in the future, you have to be able to take initiatives and think creatively. In Seth Godin’s book Linchpin he is arguing the importance in making yourself ‘indispensable”, becoming a ‘linchpin’.  “The linchpin is someone who can walk into chaos and create order, someone who can invent, connect, create, and make things happen. “

Back in 2010, IBM conducted a major study and asked 1500 CEO’s around the world. Questions: What was the single most important quality need to possess to be a successful leader going forward? The answer – Creativity!

Many claim that we are all born creative (just listen to a small child talk or observe the way they play), but that we are trained out of using our creativity through school and socialisation. But the creativity is not gone. It is just hidden somewhere deep inside you, behind your fear of being wrong, making a fool of yourself and standing out.

“Creativity takes courage- Henri Matisse

That is why Travel Out There are always putting focus on creativity in our incentives and team buildings. We even have a whole workshop solely focusing on creativity, where we aim to re-ignite your creative spark as well as create stronger and more personal relationships between you and your team. Click the link below to learn more about it.

Creative Connections

 

 

Digital Detox Friday – The NoPhone

The NoPhone

“The NoPhone is a technology-free alternative to constant hand-to-phone contact that allows you to stay connected with the real world.”

The NoPhone

The NoPhone

No this is not a joke, you can actually buy the NoPhone. A plastic block shaped to feel and look exactly as an iphone. This product was launched as a Kickstarter project asking for US$ 5000. It got over 18 000!

We also have products like the Digital Detox Kit, containing guidebooks, worksheets, mp3s and videos that will help you understand and curb your digital addiction. And get this, by buying the package you also get access to the Exclusive Facebook group where you can get help and share your experience. Anyone else see the irony in all this?

No matter what, these products shows that digital addiction is a fast growing epidemic but also that people have become aware of this and are looking for ways to fight their addiction.

A divided meeting industry

We also see the MICE-industry starting to acknowledging this. While one direction is moving toward more technically advanced events, with new apps, social media walls, drones, sensor and eye detection, virtual reality events, holograms, google glasses, etc etc. We can also see a clear move in the opposite direction with device and WIFI free event with focus on the real face-to-face meeting.

We are convinced that there are place for both of these world. There are situations where technology is absolutely necessary and revolutionizing. But there are even more situations where the real magic lies in the face-to-face interaction with another human being. Where the focus is on the actual moment and where ideas and thoughts can be shared without the constant background noise of updates, news feeds and notifications.

New Year’s Digital Resolutions

Needing some  food-for-thought and startling facts about our generation’s, perhaps, biggest epidemic?  We will publish a series of post about what it takes to strike the online / offline balance. But, it will not all be gloomy and sad. We will also feature tips and ideas on how to curb your addiction and all the good things that will come out of it.

Let start this first week of with some New Year’s resolutions for a digital detox. We borrowed these ones from Camp Grounded, a camp where ‘grown up goes to unplug, get away and be kids again”.

 

18 DIGITAL DETOX NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

1. Be bored

With our smartphones in our pockets, boredom seems to be a thing of the past. You never have to be bored again because there’s always someone to text, feeds to read or games to play. But why has boredom gotten such a bad rap?
A lot of amazing things happen when you’re bored. Some of your best ideas will come out of being bored; it’s when we’re bored that our imaginations get to show off. Rather than being entertained by our phones, we become the entertainment.
It is also said that boredom and peace are two sides of the same coin. Let boredom be your catalyst for a practice in mindfulness. Sink into the boredom! If strong emotions come up, it means there’s something that needs to be processed, so let it.

2. Hug it Out

Start hugging your way to happiness and health. A big hug has been proven to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. But we’re not talking about a quick, “hi, how ya doing?” hug. Try hugging someone for 9-20 seconds. Hugging like this will give you a mega dose of oxytocin – the cuddle hormone – which is known to promote feelings of devotion, trust and bonding.

Getting all that good stuff from hugging means we don’t need it as much from our computers and phones. Studies have shown that the act of tweeting can release the same amount of oxytocin as a groom releases at his wedding! No wonder we’re tethered to our tech. Let’s re-train our brain to associate these feelings with other people instead of our gadgets. You don’t need to break up with your twitter feed, but maybe it’s also time to start seeing other PEOPLE.

3. “LIKE” in person 

Saying thank you isn’t just polite, it’s good for you. According to studies, practicing gratitude increases health and happiness, improves sleep, heightens alertness and determination, and even stimulates anti-aging hormones in your brain. In fact, feeling gratitude will make “happiness” and “appreciation” your default emotions, even when things become challenging or difficult.

Try starting a “Gratitude Practice” when you wake up. Before you get out of bed, make a list of 10 things you are grateful for. This simple practice will release feel good hormones and neurotransmitters, and that will do more than any cup of coffee ever could to start your day off right.

 

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4. Bring Back the Book

Reading on paper activates a different part of your brain than reading on a screen. Today we have bi-literate brains, adapting to screen reading, which involves more skimming and scrolling, and for paper reading, which allows for deeper comprehension

Since reading is relatively new for the human brain, new connections and circuits are created when we learn to read. The brain is an incredibly efficient system and if you don’t use it . . . you may lose it! Choose one thing that you read everyday (novel, news, etc.) and commit to reading it on paper.

5. 20 – 20 – 20 

If you’re healthy and you know it, blink your eyes! The average person blinks 18 times a minute, but that number is greatly reduced when we are on our screens. In fact, nearly 70% percent of Americans experience digital eye strain. Digital eye strain includes dry and irritated eyes, blurred vision and headaches related to prolonged screen use. While 1/3 of adults don’t do anything to alleviate these symptoms, there’s something that you can do.

Be kind to your eyes and give them break! For every 20 minutes on your screen, try spending 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. This gives your eyes a chance to rest and stretch before getting back into the game.
Oh yeah . . . and BLINK!

6. No devices before bed 

New studies have shown that around 90% of Americans use some kind of device within an hour of going to bed. Using a screen before bed delays your release of melatonin, which can reduce REM sleep and cause you to be less sleepy at night and more groggy in the morning.

Want a better night sleep? Shut your screens down at least an hour before you tuck yourself in.

7. Buy an Alarm Clock 

Wake up with an alarm clock instead of your cellphone. You’ll sleep better and won’t have the urge to check your messages. Give yourself 30-45 minutes to wakeup, make some coffee or tea, and start the day on YOUR terms before getting wrapped up in email, Facebook, memes, the news or other forms of media or digital communication.

It’s been reported that 80% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. Keeping your phone away from your bed is one of the easiest ways to help control your tech use.

8. Make a Pocket List 

We all have that ever-growing list of things that we wish we could do if only there were more time. But with most of us spending over 3 hours a day on social media, maybe we have more time than we think.

Keep in your pocket a list of things you want to do if only you had the time. When you have that itch to grab your phone or load your favorite site, do one thing from your Pocket List first.

 

 

9. Keep Screens off the Menu 

Did you know that watching TV while eating can make your food taste worse? Not only will taking the food you are eating in with your eyes help you  actually taste it, but eating without digital distractions has been linked to better portion control. There are so many reasons to not invite our screens to meals and yet more than one-third of employees eat lunch at their desks on a regular basis.

Try setting meal times as an opportunity to connect with your food, the people around you and yourself. Appreciate where your food came from and the people who planted, harvested, sourced, transported and prepared it. Your food will taste better and you’ll feel better tasting it.

10. Track Your Tech Use 

If you are interested in reducing your screen time, one of your biggest tools will be knowing how much you use it. Try using  Checky or Moment to track your phone usage and even set limits for yourself on how much you use your phone each day.

Remember not to judge yourself or your tech use. The point is not to feel bad, just to decide how much tech you want to use and then use your tools to get there.

11. Find Your Play Everyday 

“The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.” – Brian Sutton-Smith

As children, play was fundamental for our development. Through games we learned how to get along and connect with others. Through imagination we imagined new worlds of possibilities for ourselves, our friends and our families. As grown-ups we often feel disconnected and “stuck,” but often try to work our way out of it rather than to just lose ourselves in play.
Think about yourself as a child and when you felt the most free and happy. What were you doing? From sports to collecting buttons, from drawing to chess, there are millions of ways we play. Find a way you like to play and see if you can incorporate it more in your life.

12. No Toilet Texting 

We know about sexting, but what about SHEXTING? According to a recent poll, 75% of Americans admit to using their mobile devices while on the toilet. Not only can spending extra porcelain time with your phone contribute to developing hemorrhoids, but this study found that one out of every 6 phones tested had fecal matter on it. You can keep your poop in the bathroom by keeping your phone in your pocket.

Some of the best ideas and innovations come from the quiet contemplation of the commode. Don’t let compulsive screenage rob you of creative genius. Try taking tech-free toilet time and see what you can create . . . besides . . . you know.
And if you’re reading this on the can right now . . . how about a courtesy flush?

13. Intragram your Life 

New studies indicate that when we take a picture of something, we are less likely to remember it. Many of us take pictures of our lives and our vacations to share on social media or to look back on later. But by doing that, are we actually losing the opportunity to be present and take in the moment?

This year commit to Intragraming! Rather than taking pictures and sharing them online, just take it in yourself and then tell your friends about it later. Get a nice journal and a good pen. Always have a pad of paper on you ready to write down your thoughts, ideas, visions, and things you might want to ask someone or look up later. Instead of taking photos, draw your “four-inch frame” picture or write about the experience. Put down your phone and pick up your pen!

14. No Texting and Driving 

How important is that text really? A recent report revealed that the average person takes their eyes off the road for up to 5 seconds when sending or receiving texts. At 55 mph, that’s the length of a football field! In fact you are 23% more likely to get into a crash while you are texting.

Put away your phone and take care of yourself and those driving near you.

15. Turn Off Push Notifications 

Turn off the push notifications you get on your smart phone from social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Emails, etc. Choose when you want to check your messages and be intentional about it. Don’t let the beeps and buzzes of the online world pull you from the moment that you are currently enjoying.

Try going to your phone’s settings and turning off all those notifications. Unless you are responsible for saving lives, you really don’t need to be on call.

16. Phone Calls First 

We’ve all been there. We’re trying to text a heart felt sentiment or complex instructions and we think, “If only there was a way to just tell them this. . .” Well guess what? It’s called your phone.

50% of Americans prefer to communicate digitally rather than in person. Try and call people directly, instead of spending tons of time going back and forth via email to setup a call. Sometimes just picking up the phone can cut out a lot of unnecessary time spent online in the inbox. And if someone needs to get a hold of you, tell them that if it is an emergency, critical or if they just want to connect – that calling is the best way.

17. Set a Schedule 

Set certain times of the day for doing different tasks or activities like using Facebook, checking emails, reading, etc. If someone sends you a link to an article or you come across a video that seems interesting, try and put them aside as a bookmark or in a folder to go through later at a specific part of my day. Check emails in batches and share content in the same way. By segmenting the day, it’s easier to manage time online and be more efficient – avoiding “black-hole technology loops.” Minimize working out of the inbox and be proactive with your time.

18. Wear a Watch 

Ever wondered what time it was, so you looked at your phone and after 5-10 minutes of checking email, you put your phone away and still didn’t know what time it was? You’re not alone.

Wearing a watch can have a huge impact on how often you are on your phone. Limiting the amount of time you check it limits the amount of times you can get pulled in.
Try wearing a watch for a week and see if there’s a change for you.

 

We hope this gives you some inspiration for your own digital detox 2018. Should you and your colleague want to experience a Digital Detox in the new year be sure to check out this page for more information. 

 

3 Kickstarter projects that will change the meeting industry 2015

If you have followed a blog for a while you probably know by now that we are aiming to take connections to another level. To move stiff meetings and conferences out from the meeting rooms and shackles of the office, and turn forced team building activities into something really meaningful for both the individual and the team.

That is why we are particularly excited about these three Kickstarter projects below, and believe that they can help to revolutionise the meeting industry in 2015. One of them literally enables us to look at things from different angles, and the other two makes it possible to hold meetings, brain storming sessions, and presentations anywhere you wish.

 Kickstarter projects that will change the meeting industry 2015

zano

1. Zano

Forget the selfie-stick. This little fellow takes your selfies to a whole new level. This nano drone connects to your smartphone, and allows you to take photos and record videos from complete new angles. Imagine having this device on your next team building outing, staff party or meeting.

 

betabook

2. Betabook

The simplest ideas are often the best ones. And this idea is so brilliantly simple, which is what makes it so great. A whiteboard pad, that allows you to scribble down ideas, draw pictures, and then erase it when it’s no longer needed (if you want to keep it you can just take a photo of it). No more wasted papers with notes that you will never look over again. This will be a must have for every meeting and brainstorm session in 2015.

cafflano

3.Cafflano

We have mentioned before the importance of good quality coffee at meetings and events. And with this all-in-one coffee cup it will be finally be made possible to enjoy a good cup of java regardless of where you are. It is a grinder, brewer and coffee cup in one. All you need is beans and hot water. Perfect for outdoor team building, long conferences and walking meetings.

Join the discussion!
Let us know what you think. Which one of these products would you like to get your hands on? And what other products do you believe will be unbearable in the MICE industry this year?