Get All Access for $5/mo

How a Digital Detox Saved My Career And how it can change yours.

By Nicole Lapin

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Hero Images | Getty Images

A few days before I started my job anchoring a business show on Bloomberg, my boss set up a video conference with the rest of the team in San Francisco. During the call, I began frantically typing an email on my phone. I wanted the team to see just how hard I was working and how seriously I was taking this job. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my boss get on his phone. "See!" I thought. "We know what we need to do to get ahead. He gets me!" And just then, another email came through! I tapped on it immediately. It was a one-line message -- from my boss: "Pay attention, Lapin. Get off your phone."

My intention wasn't to come across as a bad team player or disrespectful. Quite the contrary, I was working for the team and wanted them to know it. But what I would come to realize is that working for the team and working with the team are two different things. Being distracted and unprofessional is only one of the ways your phone saps your superpowers. If you want others to respect your valuable time, you must pay them the same consideration. That means being present in meetings and actively listening to those around you, not mindlessly nodding over the top of your screen.

Related: Why Digital Detox Is a Good Idea for Entrepreneurs

Of course, no one is going back to conducting business over snail mail any time soon, so we have to be able to use it but not abuse it, or let it abuse us. For me, a detox was the best way to reset my relationship with my phone. Sound hard? It was, but it ultimately saved my career. Here's how I did it, it and how it helped me (and can help you).

Going Cold Turkey

Knowing that I would never be able to fully disconnect if I remained in the city, with all of its easy distractions and endless barrage of screens, I opted for a full-on wilderness retreat. So, there I was, in a cabin. With a shared bathroom. Basically glamping. With no phone. No emails to check. No texts. No camera. No apps. Nada. And even if I had managed to sneak in a phone, there was no cell service. The first day was like coming off drugs -- withdrawal to the max. Total separation anxiety. I was going on hikes with beautiful views that were just begging to be Instagrammed, and I had no way of even taking a photo. But each day, it got a little easier, and by the end, it was downright liberating. As I came down from my digital high, I observed some big changes in myself.

Appreciating the World Outside My Screen

The first thing I noticed was that I was more conscious of the world around me, which I would have missed with a phone basically sutured to my hand. As I walked through the woods, I took in the various plants and shrubs and the differences in the texture of their leaves. I marveled at the different shades of wood in the paneling that lined my room. My senses were heightened in everything I did, from tying my shoes to watching a sunset that could only be captured with my eyes and memory.

Sleeping Better

The next thing I noticed was that I felt more alert at 6 a.m. than I usually did at 8 a.m. after two cups of coffee. Waking up to watch the sunrise was glorious and easy because I had less trouble falling asleep. There was no phone light beaming into my eyeballs before bed, ruining the natural darkness (and my eyes). Instead, I read or simply fell right to sleep after a full, rich, adventurous day.

Related: Low Productivity? You May Need a Digital Detox.

Being More Present

Finally, I noticed how present I was with everyone I talked to. I was more engaged in the stories they told. I remembered little details about each person I met and what we'd talked about in a way I never had before. I was even able to confront a few tough conversations, straight-on and in person (like with one, um, married guy who would not take a hint that I was not interested in a romp in the woods), squashing conflict way faster than a barrage of texts would have.

Sure, these were all simple things I could have worked on before taking a digital time-out, but I never thought I needed to. I didn't even think to think about it. It took a week without my phone for me to really start looking outward at the world with fresh eyes and inward at the things about myself that I'd completely lost sight of.

Excerpted and adapted from Becoming Super Woman: A Simple 12-Step Plan to Go from Burnout to Balance.

Nicole Lapin is the New York Times Bestselling author of Rich Bitch and Boss Bitch. She is the host of the nationally syndicated business reality competition show, Hatched. She has been an anchor on CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg. Her latest book, Becoming Super Woman, is available now.



Nicole Lapin

Financial Journalist, New York Times Bestselling Author, Anchor

Nicole Lapin is the New York Times bestselling author of Rich Bitch, Boss Bitch and Becoming Super Woman. She is the host of the nationally syndicated business reality competition show Hatched. Former anchor on CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg. Host of "Money Rehab with Nicole Lapin" launching April 5th.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This 26-Year-Old's Side Hustle That 'Anybody Can Do' Grew to Earn $170,000 a Month. Here's What Happened When I Tested It.

Stephen Alvarez was working at a dental supply company and following his passion for cars on the side — then an Instagram ad changed everything.

Marketing

How to Repurpose Your Content for SEO Success

Stay informed with expert insights on optimizing content lifecycle efficiency through strategic repurposing methods.

Business News

Nvidia and the Magnificent Seven Have 'Immense Returns,' but Strategists Say There Are Risks

The Magnificient Seven includes Nvidia, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, Google, and Tesla.

Business News

Costco Is Raising Hourly Wages for Employees, According to an Internal Memo from the CEO

In an internal memo sent on Monday, CEO Ron Vachris informed employees of the $1 an hour pay raise.

Branding

The 20-Step Guide to Rebranding Your Company Online

When rebranding your company, consider these 20 essential action items to ensure a smooth transition and maintain and enhance your evolving digital reputation.

Growing a Business

5 Lessons Learned From a 7-Figure Founder

Five key lessons I wish someone had given me when I first started out on my entrepreneurial journey.