Unplug to AccelerateI currently live in Nairobi, and one of the facts of life here are the frequent power outages.

And by frequent I mean that they occur at least once a week and can last minutes or hours.

My little cottage isn’t connected to a generator, so when the power is out, it’s out. (Check out a photo of my cat, Natasha, basking in the rays of the electric lamp.)

The last outage one was a big one – 9.5 hours.

Seriously, ask yourself.  If you had no power for 2 hours, or 9.5, what would you do?

How much of you is so dependent on external power that you actually feel lost when you don’t have it?

Internet, TV, Microwaves, Facebook, Twitter, Phone, etc.

If it were to all go away, what would be the first thing you would do?

My reaction: big old goofy grin, because I know these power-free periods (PFPs) are where I get my creative juices really flowing!  Heck, I make PFPs part of my daily routine.

In fact, it is because I unplug and take the time to reflect and plan, that I am able to actually accelerate my own dreams and goals.

So my challenge to you, especially as we enter this hectic holiday season, is to try and make a PFP part of your weekly, and hopefully daily, routine.

Here are 7 ideas to kick-start your PFPs.

Just choose 1 each day and spend 15 minutes on it.

That is a whole 1 hour, 45 minutes of your life this coming week where you commit to unplugging in order to accelerate.  Totally doable!

1)   Escape outdoors and move!

I don’t care where you live on this planet.  Even the concrete jungle of NYC has sidewalks.

Get outdoors and walk, run, skip to your hearts content.

(Seriously – I love skipping! Just try not to feel like a little kid again.)

Breathe in deep, slow, controlled breaths (of course avoid smog if possible!).

Wear flats to get your feet closer to the earth.

Even better, get near some grass/sand/dirt, take off your shoes, and walk around just feeling the texture and support of the earth beneath your feet.

2)   Start that book

We all have them.  Books we bought and never read.

Open one and get it off your list.

(Bonus points if you do this while sitting outdoors – see #1.)

3)   Write

Pen and Paper.  Computer.  Who cares.  Just write.

Write about whatever comes to mind.

Your next blog, lyrics to your favorite songs, a list of your favorite books, your action list for the week, a description of the setting around you…whatever floats your boat.

No teachers to correct your ideas here.  It’s all about you and your desires.

(Bonus points if you do this while sitting outdoors – see #1.)

4)   Draw

Next time you are in the store, grab some colored pencils or crayons.  Keep these + plain white paper on standby for your PFPs.

When the time comes, start doodling.  Sketch.

Heck, even drawing a grid and coloring in the boxes with various colors is a great way to trigger some creativity.

If you are really at a loss, start writing your Action List in different colors.  Even those tasks become more interesting in color!

Be a kid again and let yourself go.

(Bonus points if you do this while sitting outdoors – see #1.)

5)   Cook.  Clean.  Get your hands dirty.

It’s amazing how much mental creativity is set free when you use your hands.

I love to peel carrots and chop up vegetables during my PFPs.  No music, no TV, just me and my thoughts.

Not only are you getting your hands working along with your mind, you are also closer to a nice healthy meal.  (And we all need more greens in our lives!)

Hint: Bookmark a recipe you’ve always wanted to try, and go for it!

As for cleaning…it isn’t just reserved for the spring!  Open up that dreaded closet, cabinet or garage and just get to it.

6)   Set some goals

PFPs are a great time to reflect on who you are, what you want to be, and what it will take to get there.

Use this time to think about 3 goals you will accomplish that day/week.

Only 3.

I know how hard 3 can be, so keep a list going of all your other ideas in a book somewhere.  You can always come back to them.

(Bonus points if you do this while sitting outdoors – see #1 – & with your colored pencils –see #4)

7)   Listen to others

PFPs aren’t limited just to you.

Other people and animals are part of our world, and they often need help to slow down and appreciate.

When was the last time you spent some quality time with your kids and/or pet?

Spend 15 minutes focused just on these sentient beings in your life.

Sit on the porch with a family member and/or friend and ask them something.  And then just listen.  No phone, no TV, no opinions.  Just good old listening.

Play with your pets and children. Give them hugs and belly rubs.  (Kids like belly rubs too!)  Listen to what they need.  More exercise?  Someone to listen to them as they practice piano?  A good game of hide and seek?


Whether you have electrical power or not, these PFPs are an amazing way to re-focus your energy and attention on the things that really matter in your life.

We are all over-stimulated, and the holiday season just ups the ante on that roller coaster to overwhelm.

It’s time to add a little PFP to your life Gritster!

Feeling inspired?  Have comments or questions?  Share them below.  I would love to hear about the creative ways you spend your PFP, and what comes of it!