Why We Should Step Away From The Computer

Step away from the computer to build your business

I feel guilty.

Today is Wednesday. I usually post to my blog on Tuesday but I was so busy with client work that I just didn’t get to it. And so this morning I feel guilty. Why? Because I didn’t do something I’d committed to doing (publicly, no less!).

But then the thought comes up – given the huge volume of client work, was it better to write a blog post or focus on my clients’ needs?

Of course it’s possible to justify either answer. And, as a digital strategist, you’d probably expect me to say that it’s most important to maintain consistency, meet reader expectations, and add to the SEO’d content on this blog.

But that’s not what I’m going to say. Instead, I think we should all take more time to step … away …. from …. the … computer …  Here’s why:

  1. Connection with our clients will always be stronger face-to-face or over the phone. Facial expression and voice inflection add far more to the conversation that any emoticons or written words ever will. If we want to build strong, lasting relationships, we need to get in front of people.
  2. Blogging and social media can become addictive. As a psychologist, I’ve seen too many people focus their time and energy on the online world, rather than their family, friends, and clients. The rush of instantly seeing how many people read your post, liked you on Facebook, or retweeted your Twitter update can become more satisfying than anything in the “real world” – often with hugely negative personal and business-related consequences.
  3. The stress of developing and publishing great content day after day, or week after week, can become overwhelming. I have clients who are incapacitated by the perception that they simply must write that blog post, send out that newsletter, or update their social media channels. Today. That, somehow, the world will come to an end if they don’t do it. And the stress pushes them to the point that they simply can’t do it – they can’t think of anything to write, they get stuck trying to make it perfect, or they decide that their message isn’t worth sharing. While they agonize over the online world, their real world business suffers.
  4. Is it really helping your business? It’s easy to get caught up in “doing social media,” but why are we doing it? What outcomes are we seeing from all that effort? Have we measured the impact? Without a clear return on our effort (or at least an good understanding of the outcomes we expect to see down the road), it may be time to step away from the computer.
  5. Online tools may not be the best answer. What? A digital strategist saying “go old school”?! But, as I’ve said many times before, it’s not about the tools – it’s about tying your digital strategy to your business strategy and then developing/using the tools that best support that. Be 100% clear about which tools best support your business goals, and why. If it’s blogging, social media, e-newsletters and the like, then go for it. If it’s not, then let yourself off the hook and do whatever else works.

The sad fact is that no one is sitting by their computer holding their breath and waiting for your next post or update. If it’s a day late, it’s a day late. And if you don’t write anything at all this week, that’s ok. Your loyal readers, customers, and fans will still be there. They may wonder what happened, they may even email you – which is a great opportunity to step away from the computer and give them a call!

What are you doing to step away from the computer? Tweet this!


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