Disconnecting to Reconnect
For the last few years I worked five days a week as a ballet teacher, taught 10 -12 fitness classes a week and spent most weekends either teaching (or attending!) workshops for continuing education. This summer I decided to take a break from ballet and focus solely on fitness. I now have a full-time job as a fitness director, teach three fitness classes a week, and travel most weekends for work. When I made this transition I quickly realized that I had to start making some clear boundaries in my life to devote enough time to everything that mattered most: family, friends & fitness.
As a people we do rely heavily on our smart phones, our computers and all things social media. I (like many others) juggle multiple hats and responsibilities throughout the day and not to mention the INTENTION to keep in touch with friends and family members across the globe. I receive great joy from everything I do, but it has become far too easy for me to work for twelve hours a day. I am happy as a clam working all day every day and can often neglect to make time to be present with my loved ones and myself.
A few months ago, I came across an article about “phubbing” which spoke to the increasing occurrence of how our population has started ignoring or “snubbing” their family members because they are always on their phones (Phones + Snubbing = Phubbing). It says very plainly how detrimental it can be to our personal lives. It made me realize what a slippery slope I was on and I wanted to get off it before it began to impact my personal life.
That being said, there must be a balance between our social/work/technological lives and the actual organic moments we create with the people we value most. I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions but this year I took a long look at my goals, my dreams and my responsibilities. I wanted to find three habits that I could implement in my daily routine that would bring balance to my cherished chaos and allow me to create valuable moments for my soul. These are what I came up with…
Ashley B’s 2018 Rules
- Put your phone away at 9pm every night!
- Bedtime @ 10:30pm – Read until you fall asleep!
- Wake up every day at 6am!
Obviously, there is some ebb and flow with these (some days I have to wake up earlier, some nights I’ve stayed up late and some days I do sleep in) but for the most part I have been consistent with them all and it has been game changing!
Putting my phone away at 9pm allows me to dedicate at least 90 minutes of quality time to my personal life every single day. Most nights it means I’m working on some self-care (gotta get that myofascial release on!) while I’m watching a TV series on Netflix with my husband.
Bedtime at 10:30pm means by the time I’ve done my reading for the night (I typically last two to three pages) I get a full night’s sleep – which we all know has its own plethora of benefits (check out Katina Brock’s workshop @ IAFC this year!)
Waking up at 6am has been the literally my favorite of them all (said the girl who still will try ANYTHING to stay in bed for as long as possible!) When I wake up at 6M, I usually have at least two hours to do MY OWN THING before anyone in the world needs me. I can lesson plan for upcoming classes, work on content for an upcoming workshop or simply respond to my other email accounts. I also try not to get on my phone before 9am. I will look at the notifications screen to make sure I haven’t missed an urgent phone call or text, but that’s it. 6am to 9am is all about Ashley!
Additionally, I have a list of small habits that that have aided in my quest to find balance in life and increased connection in my relationships:
- Keeping the phone OFF the table at meals: Being actively present in the conversation is vital and having the phone out of sight also shows the other person that you are invested in spending quality time with them, and only them (and not the people we follow on Instagram). ;)
- Set Office Hours: Built into the signature of my work email I always list my office hours. This creates clear expectations for the people with whom you communicate with the most. (I also use Out of the Office Reminders for long out of town trips and larger gaps in communication – like when I’m at IAFC!)
- Facebook Fridays! I dedicate one day a week to try and respond to any unread Facebook messages, tags and comments.
- My Planner: Most of my work responsibilities are in a google calendar, but for everything else, I still love my pen and paper planner. Every Sunday I lay out my week with To Do’s, appointments and personal deadlines. I use color coded pens and pretty stickers - it’s my favorite thing!
- Date Days (for loved ones, and to date yourself!) These are blocked out in my planner or else work will take over!
- Still working on it, but DAYS OFF… to be fair, my idea of a day off means I get to spend time cleaning my house, reorganizing my office, going to the pool to work on content and purging my inbox… but it’s the thought that counts!
I can’t even begin to explain how such a small shift in my daily habits has positively impacted my life. Purposefully disconnecting has allowed me to reconnect with things that matter most in my personal life. It has allowed me to respond better to email communications, connect with friends and followers on social media, and has allowed me to feel more balanced and productive in my work life.
All of these aspects are a work in progress and I still haven’t found complete balance - to be honest, I don’t think this work-a-holic ever will. That being said, by creating clear boundaries and expectations in my life I have been able to find greater joy in my work and greater value in my personal life. #disconnecttoreconnect Please feel free to try some of these in your lives and share any tips or tricks that you love too!
James A. Roberts, “Is 'phubbing' ruining your relationship?”, CNN.com, December 14, 2016 https://www.cnn.com/2016/12/14/health/phubbing-phones-relationships/index.html
Ashley Bishop started out as a professional dancer and choreographer in Canada, Mexico and with Carnival Cruise Lines. Now in California, she is the Fitness Director for uforia Studios, a CEC Provider (ACE/AFAA/AEA), an Aquatic Training Specialist for AEA, and a Zumba Jammer™ for Zumba Fitness®. Ashley absolutely adores teaching and sharing knowledge with others.