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In Search Of More With Less

We live in curious times. It’s called the “Age of Information, but in another light, it can be called the Age of Distraction. While humanity has never been free of distraction – never have the distractions been so voluminous, so overwhelming, so intense, so persistent as they are now. In this media-drenched, multitasking, always-on age, many of us have forgotten how to unplug and immerse ourselves completely in the moment. We have forgotten how to slow down. Not surprisingly, this fast-forward culture is taking a toll on everything from our diet and health to our work and our personal lives.

Being connected to everything has disconnected us from ourselves and the preciousness of this present moment.

 L.M. Browning

More and more, we are connected, we are up to our necks in the stream of information, we are in the crossfire of the battle for our attention, and we are engaged in a harrying blur of multitasking activity. When we’re working, we have distractions coming from every direction. In front of us is the computer, with email notifications and other notifications of all kinds. Then there’s the addicting lure of the browser, which contains not only an endless amount of reading material that can be a black hole into which we never escape, but unlimited opportunity for shopping, for chatting with other people, for gossip and news and so much more. All the while, several new emails have come in, waiting for a quick response. Several programs are open at once, each of them with tasks to complete. Several people would like to chat, dividing our attention even further.

We’ve come into this Age without being aware that it was happening, or realizing its consequences. Sure, we knew that the Internet was proliferating, and we were excited about that. We knew that mobile devices were becoming more and more ubiquitous, and maybe some people harrumphed and others welcomed the connectivity. But while the opportunities offered by this online world are a good thing, the constant distractions, the increasingly urgent pull on our attention, the stress of multitasking at an ever-finer granular level, the erosion of our free time and our ability to live with a modicum of peace … perhaps we didn’t realize how much this would change our lives. Maybe some did. With so many things asking for (or simply in need of) our attention, it’s time we paid attention to this.

The Eternal Quest For Balance

Everyone seems to be writing about, talking about, concerned about, dreaming about, or in an eternal search of that elusive “work-life balance” phenomenon. Everyone agrees that it’s important for all the right reasons. Everyone’s seeking to unplug for a few hours, a few days, maybe even longer. But rarely does it happen or last. Everyone seems to fail.

Now step back and think for a moment – who do you know that has really (I mean really) gone the extra mile to make it happen? When was the last time you went an entire day without checking email or Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn or any other social media channel? And if you did, was “even just a glance” really enough to get by? What did you miss? How much time did it take to get back on track? Too long, you say? What did you learn or accomplish? Will you do it again, and if so, for how long next time? Or is it simply easier to go with the flow and settle for “status quo?”

Whenever we look around the world, we see smart leaders – in politics, in business, in media – making terrible decisions. What they’re lacking is not IQ, but wisdom. Which is no surprise; it has never been harder to tap into our inner wisdom, because in order to do so, we have to disconnect from all our omnipresent devices – our gadgets, our screens, our social media – and reconnect with ourselves.

― Arianna Huffington, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder

Time For A Digital Sabbatical?

Sabbatical or a sabbatical (from Latin: sabbaticus, from Greek: sabbatikos (σαββατικός), from Hebrew: shabbat (שבת) (i.e., Sabbath), literally a “ceasing”) is a rest from work or a break, often lasting from two months to a year. The concept of sabbatical has a source in shmita, described in several places in the Bible. For example, in Leviticus 25, there is a commandment to desist from working the fields during the seventh year. Strictly speaking, this means a sabbatical would last one year.

What is a digital sabbatical? It’s taking time off and disconnecting from the internet and its apps—online browsing, email, and social media. The word sabbatical is associated with taking a long leave of absence to rest or explore. This used to be the case in the physical world but the time has come to extend it to our virtual world as well. And what might we hope to accomplish?

✅ A mind cleanse. We can use time away from the online world to become more mindful of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

✅ Reclaiming our time. Taking a break will restore our sense of time, instead of it slipping away from us when online.

✅ Breaking our online dependency. Being away and not relying on the internet will allow us to stop feeding the urge to be connected.

✅ Creating space to do what matters. Instead of wandering online without a purpose and nothing to show for it, we can spend time doing something of value to you.

✅ Facing the fear of disconnecting. Taking a break will make us challenge the fear of missing out or being left behind in the virtual world.

It’s About Time That We “Walk The Talk”

We’ve truly been blessed by a remarkable team, each of whom has been operating at “full-throttle” since launch of BIZCATALYST 360° almost five years ago. As Editor-in-Chief, I’ve got a bottomless bucket full of reasonable and rational justifications as to why the concept of and rationale for a “sabbatical” simply doesn’t apply to me or us. And why it simply wouldn’t be practical or possible to step back, unplug and grab a dose of that “balance” elixir.

But as they say in Great Britain, “rubbish” to all that. The time has come to step up and literally “pull the plug” for the good of our entire BC360° Team. No, not for just a few hours, a few days, a few weeks or as extreme as an entire year – but for precisely three glorious months. Call it the BC360° “disruption sabbatical.” Call it three months void of being online and instantly accessible– at home, at the office, in the car, over the holidays, during vacations, etc. etc. Months during which our collective “digital disconnect” will be intentionally replaced with a “personal reconnect.” Months focused on renewal, recharging, rethinking, rebuilding, relaxing. Months reading, listening, learning, appreciating and reconnecting with ourselves and those important to us. Yup – Three glorious months, commencing December 15th, 2017. YES, our Site will still be up and running. YES, our 15,000 plus Article Archives will continue to be accessible. But NO to NEW publishing, NO to eMail responses, NO to anything compromising our sabbatical – as we individually and collectively pursue our genuine quest for “more with less.”

The Phoenix Rises

Publishing will resume on or about April 1st, 2018 – following which we promise to share our “journal of discovery” as we reconnected with ourselves – perhaps as inspiration for others to follow our lead. While we’re gone, we can’t possibly thank you enough for your support, your patience and your understanding. And if you are one of our many Featured Contributors, please keep your thought leadership submissions coming – once our Sabbatical begins, we’ll simply archive everything, ready for release as soon as we’re back!  Meanwhile, we hope you will join us for a day, a week, a month or for however long you too can “unplug” and perhaps discover your “more with less.”

Why So Much Advance Notice?

Simply a matter of respect for our incredibly loyal audience and indeed, our extraordinary group of talented Columnists & Featured Contributors. While we may be away for a while, we recognize that any success we’ve had over the past five years has purely been a result of these folks whom we simply can’t thank enough. We want you all to know it’s not “good-bye” but simply “so-long” as we take some time to reconnect and recharge – and indeed, recommit to delivering the very best Insights, Intelligence and Inspiration following our return!

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Dennis Pitocco
Dennis Pitoccohttps://www.bizcatalyst360.com/
DENNIS is the Founder & Chief ReImaginator of 360° Nation, encompassing a wide range of multimedia enterprises, including BizCatalyst 360° —the award-winning global media digest; 360° Nation Studios —dedicated to reaching across the world in an effort to capture, produce, and deliver positive, uplifting messages via blockbuster global events, and; GoodWorks 360° —a pro-bono consulting foundation focused entirely on providing mission-critical advisory services to nonprofits worldwide. Collaborating with his Chief Inspiration Officer (and wife), Ali, everything they do is "for-good" vs. "for-profit". Their mission over the past decade-plus has been to rediscover humanity at its best, influencing and showcasing it every step of the way. Together, they do their very best to figure out what the world is trying to be —then using all their resources to help it to be better every day in every way. They understand and embrace the notion that it’s not about me or you; it’s about caring for the people we serve and more responsibly stewarding the precious resources in our care. And they believe it’s about showing up, being present, and intentionally giving our invaluable gifts of time, talent, and treasure "for good". Dennis is a contributing author to the Best-Selling Books ♦ Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational ChangeJourney Well, You Are More Than EnoughThe Four-Fold Formula For All Things Wellness: True Stories of the Heart, Spirit, Mind, and Body.

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63 CONVERSATIONS

  1. Thanks for setting an example and being a disruption in our go-go-go more-more-more world. We often think, “I just can’t get away. There’s too much to do.” But the truth is the to-do list can often wait and the most important thing to-do in your life is to nurture your soul and deepen your presence. Bravo to you and Ali!!

  2. Bon Voyage, and may your trip bring to you all, what your words express and your hearts desire. Prayers will follow you everyday on your journey and those that enjoy this great success of BIZCATALYST 360 look forward even more to your return. God Bless as Saint Teresa of Calcutta has said many times,
    The fruit of love is service
    The fruit of service is “Peace”

    Be well and enjoy!

  3. I say this at least every other day that a need to un-plug is so vital to our happiness. An afternoon, a weekend, a whole week. But I am so happy to hear of your un-plug and that it will last 3 lovely months! Happy for you all!

  4. Like the points in the article. I find balance really elusive. There is no such thing as balance. There is, however, who you are as a person. If you work, your life, you energy doesn’t fit who you are a person — they you should change. Because if you don’t, something will give — usually health or a divorce.

    If you in your heart is a workaholic that feels comfortable seeing your kid every three days, they be that workaholic and don’t feel guilty about it. But, if you are a workaholic and you miss your kids — then change.

  5. Wow! I was in a “forced” disconnected state in June with house move, no telephone or internet, and a husband in hospital, so I missed your announcement. Gosh! Good for you, Dennis. I know a few people who have taken several month sabbaticals, and they were so good for them. Improved their creativity, health, sense of humor and lots more. Have wonderful, memorable and fun experiences!

    • On behalf of the entire BC360° Team, we appreciate your support Chris, as it’s a daunting endeavor, but one we believe will pay dividends well into the future!

  6. As we become more connected to business and other peoples lives. It can quickly disconnect us from our own. It is jest for this reason that I have not joined some popular social sites. Social media is all reaction. If you are constantly reacting, do you really have time to act.

    • You nailed it here, Jerry. It’s time to disconnect for a while and connect with people and activities that matter most – thanks for engaging!

  7. Hey Dennis, is this prose or poetry? Superb article. We must think sometimes what we are doing and why we are doing it. Completely agree with “Being connected to everything has disconnected us from ourselves and the preciousness of this present moment.”

    Thanks for opening our eyes!

    • Thank you for your kind words here, Sandeep. Let us all begin to “open our eyes” to the value of truly connecting by disconnecting!

  8. A real awesome idea. There have been some clinical studies of how long term exposure to information from the internet and our social networks can lead to mental fatigue, depression, and at times suicide.

    We must do our best to disengage when ever we can.

    • Thanks, Chris – – someone said it all recently when considering the notion of unplugging: “My brain has too many tabs open….”

  9. I too, am in full support of your decision Dennis. Though I am a brand new member of the team, I have loved every moment — and am nothing short of being absolutely impressed with the remarkable success you’ve brought not only our audiences, but our team, as well.

    There is so much truth to the power of taking the time to recharge our batteries, so to speak. The term ‘sabbatical’ carries such strength because of the sheer force of what it truly means. Studies certainly support how much our cognitive abilities, productivity, efficiency, and desire is improved when we practice this. In our contemporary world, it can be tough to actually do, though… so hats off to you Dennis for taking this step.

    You are setting a great example… and in the meanwhile, I’m also among those looking forward to hearing about how much you and Ali have thoroughly enjoyed your time together 🙂

    We only live once and I am a firm believer that we should enjoy the time we have and those who matter the most to us. Completely unplugged. …and in the meanwhile, I am certain there will be plenty of us here preparing articles to be placed in the queue for use when BC360 resumes!

    • Thank you for your wonderful and inspiring comments here, Jennifer. In discussing our “digital sabbatical” with someone, they quickly referred to it as a “Quantum Leap” – defined as follows: “there will come a moment in time when you know it’s time to simply unplug .. call it a leap of faith or a leap of courage, but grab that special moment and treasure it…” This will be our moment. Our Leap of Faith. Our “Quantum Leap”….

  10. Dennis, this is nothing short of astonishing on so many levels. The courage alone, to unplug from our 24/7 world of information, is admirable. You’ve built an amazing platform in BIZCATALYST 360, and the awareness that to create requires unplugging is spot on.

    As a writer, I often find that I get the most clarity and inspiration when I’m AWAY from my computer. My mind recharges, and the inspiration, which is frequently interrupted by an email or, let’s be honest, Facebook, is allowed to flower.

    This is truly thought-leader material. I hope others take up the mantle and we give our creative minds the opportunity to germinate and organically grow. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks so much for joining our discussion, Mary Fran – and for your thoughtful sentiment and support here. We do hope that our “digital” disconnect will be followed by others for whatever period of time they can commit to. There is only and upside to doing so, as we’ll all gain from whatever it is we might be afraid of missing or losing along the way. Another perspective/challenge someone offered recently: “Strip people of technology and see what’s left” …

    • I think it’s a good idea and a right moment of reflection without the hassle of work commitments.Even though you all have a fervor of extraordinary ideas, generating good, new ideas and quality work requires something very rare in modern life: quiet! Taking time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy, and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the comptex environments in which so many of us now live. When we’re constantly fixated on what to say next, what to write next, what to tweet next, it’s difficut to drop into deeper modes of listening and attention. And it’s in those deeper modes of attention that truly novel ideas are found. Communicating it in advance does nothing to confirm the kindness that has always characterized you, and it makes it even more fun to relate to you.

  11. I remember you and Ali talking about unplugging, and I think this is wonderful. I’m not ready to go this far, but I have backed off of digital in a big way as I felt it was affecting my emotions, and not in a good way. Thanks for setting the example.

    • Thank you, Carol. Someone said recently “doing what matters isn’t always doing what’s easy…” We’re inspired to do what matters…

  12. It takes serious guts to make a commitment like this. I’m with the rest of this group in congratulating your decision and pledging my support. I’m also very excited to see what you learn from it. Sometimes when all other influences fall away, we discover our real priorities and motivations.

    • We genuinely appreciate your kind words of support here, Carol. There’s more to life than social media, and we intend to discover it!

  13. This sounds terrific! The Internet sure did “speed up” on us, and it brought a lot (too much sometimes) information with it. I think what you’re doing, not only is it a great opportunity, but I think for many of us, it would take self discipline and guts. In many respects the hard part is often the deed that follows the word. Wow… I tip my hat to you! Sometimes we need to turn the sound off, so we can hear. Peace!

  14. Thank you for the heads-up 🙂 You have a wonderful new media concept, and in new concepts it’s naturally to let your mind wonder and look for inspiration in different ways. I truly respect that you made this decision for the team. Too often we talk & write about things that we should do, without actually doing them ourselves. I am certain this experience will give you great insight. “To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” – Lao Tzu

    • Thanks, Maria – Indeed, “walking the talk” is the challenge for many, but we intend to deliver not only for our collective good, but hopefully, as a powerful message to others…

  15. Over the years I have come to this sentiment more than once, but saying it and doing it are two different things. So I admire that you and your lovey bride Ali will reap many rewards because you are doing what needs to be and yes, less of everything is more, especially that which enriches our lives from the inside out.

    • You’ve nailed it here, Lynn. Saying it and doing it is the challenge for us all. Which is why our approach was to “raise the bar” by broadcasting our commitment to our entire universe… As a wise man once said, “It’s called ‘the Web’ because once you’re in it, you’re stuck.” We plan to be “unstuck…”

    • Thank you, Mary… Indeed, wisdom comes from many places, like being present, available, and in the moment – as we will be during our sabbatical…

  16. Dennis – I think this is an exciting opportunity for Ali and you to step back and reconnect. And I am sure the entire BC360 team will support this effort because it will allow the team to also have a little time to take a deep breath and refocus on why we contribute our thought knowledge to your audience. I can only imagine that BC360 will be return in 2018 as a continued force for quality engagement. You have my complete support.

    • Thank you, my friend. More wisdom from others; “There is no WIFI in the forest, but you will certainly find a better connection”… Your support matters, Len!

  17. Response kindly passed along from Andre van Heerdon: “I am standing on my chair applauding your decision Dennis – it might not be the only (or even the best) remedy to what T S Eliot called being “distracted from distraction by distraction”, but it is a brave and honest response to a very serious social problem. Thanks for displaying the kind of wisdom so lacking in our superficial technotopia.” May God bless you and Ali richly.”

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments here, Andre. We hope to end the “distraction” if only for a while, and are confident that it will truly be a refreshing, life-changing experience for us and our Team!

  18. Brilliant! I do not access Face Book or other social media sites on the weekend. I never respond to work e-mail on the weekend! I just enjoy it! I have advocated the pledge against distracted living for some time. It is my conviction that we will never end things like distracted driving until we end distracted living. Thank you for taking a courageous lead on that very thing! I expect we will all be enlightened and invigorated by it! Well Spoken! Thank you Dennis!

    • You set a great example, Jim. Thank you for your encouragement. Someone wiser than me said it well: “Almost everything will work again if you just unplug it for a while…” Wisdom, indeed.

  19. Great and innovative. I think for me I can not take three months of total disconnect.. I am very involves in animal rescues and for me a lot of my time is for them. That is my love and my passion. I guess I will have to be selective and focus on what I can take time away from. In truth I can disconnect from a lot and will. I think in the end it will truly inspire all of us. You continue to amaze me Dennis and my life is better from knowing you.

    • Thanks, Larry. Your impressive commitment to animal rescue is worthy of all the time you can devote, online or offline, my friend. Time well spent, indeed.

  20. Wow, Dennis. I’m impressed with your courage in taking this step. From things I’ve written, you know that I share your concerns with the distractions of our time. I hope that you’ll prioritize your ‘thinking’ time, and focus on the most important things in which to immerse yourself. I’ll be eager to learn from your experience as you share your journey with us.

    • Thanks, Dave. In barely one generation, we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them – often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug – yet fail to so. Hence; our quest to make it happen…

  21. Less is more can really work for work. Even children in elementary school get play time and vacations. Why do we feel we must give it up? When I went to the movie the other night I realized just how connected I was to the internet. I had my phone turned off yet it kept buzzing throughout the move, and this was on a Saturday night. I now look forward to taking a break the same time BIZ360 does. What a great Christmas gift BIZ360. Thank you!

    • Given your “dominant” social media presence, Kat – your encouragement here simply reinforces how important for us all to recapture and reinvest our time to ensure it is time well spent! Thanks for engaging and indeed, for your holiday gift of disconnecting to reconnect!

    • You are the best TEAM 360, and that is why you can do something many other businesses dare not, disconnect to reconnect.

  22. Holy Mackerel Batman (RIP Adam) … my goodness – I did not predict where that was going …. lots to say and think about Dennis. Thankyou … and I hope you enjoy chatting with Ali about what matters … I would say BizCatalyst does – or maybe that is just me …

    • “It’s sometimes difficult to think clearly when you’re strapped to a printing press.” said Adam as the Caped Crusader… Thanks, John – looking forward to disconnecting and reconnecting, indeed.

    • BizCatalyst … the modern printing press.

      Dennis playing Adam playing Batman!

      Remember – you read it here first!

  23. Wow, Dennis, you continue to surprise and inspire me…..this is a great idea and too bad more people do not do this. I wish you a wonderful break with your wife and look forward to meeting you in person when you visit my city.

    • Your kind words are much appreciated, Sandy. While it’s a challenge for most of us, the time has truly come for us to all make an effort to “disconnect so we can reconnect” … And yes, our Sabbatical will include connecting (for real) with you and so many others along the way – looking forward to it!

    • And we are looking forward to meeting you in person, too! I wish you safe travels when your journey begins and know that we all will be thinking of your wise words and how we can apply them to our lives!

  24. I think the trick is to be selective in what one gets involved with. It simply isn’t humanly possible to be connected and into everything that comes along. Okay, that is easy for me because I’m retired, but the discipline can and should be applied to those still in the workforce.

    As to the 3-month sabbatical for 360, we will have to wait and see how that plays out. However, in any case, I for one, appreciate the notice.

    • Good points here, Ken. Discipline is the key in so many respects and “reclaiming” the enormous amount of time that drifts away when virtually connected versus personally connected. We appreciate your support!

    • The unplugged state will be challenging to say the least. As I’ve been experimenting for the past 6 months, I’ve made choices, as Ken mentioned, and am continuing to test the formula for what works best for me. It’s not all or nothing, but it’s definitely less is more. Life is an adventure or nothing at all.

  25. Thanks Jane for your always-inspiring support! Ali (my beautiful wife and co-conspirator in our planned sabbatical) were further inspired a random quote we stumbled upon recently – “At the end of the day, I just want to sit with someone I love and chat about what matters and even what doesn’t.” Unplugging matters.

  26. I have so much I could say about this, all positive, but it would be longer than the announcement itself. Following your heart, when your heart is right, is the way to fill your life with good things. I am a firm believer in minding your moments because they become your memories. If you take care of the inside the rest of your life will take care of itself. This is an amazing opportunity that, if ignored, would rob you of the results that could come from it. Congratulations on working toward your vision and creating the life you know is best and right for you.

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