Long walks with the phone off: Here's how some busy #dctech folks unplug - Technical.ly DC


Nov. 14, 2016 11:15 am

Long walks with the phone off: Here’s how some busy #dctech folks unplug

What's your secret? We asked five people to share their bliss.


(Photo by Flickr user Dan O'Cker, used under a Creative Commons license)

You: “How’s your week going?”

Me: “It’s been good! Busy.”

I’ve had this microconversation so many times that I may be singlehandedly responsible for the fact that the word “busy” carries no meaning. Sorry about that. It always feels true — each day busier than the last with so many interviews and events and words. And then there’s the busy-ness of the world around me — usually just a push notification or tab away — violence to be mourned, new memes to be understood, that election, oh that election. There’s just so much.

It’s a distraction sickness, as Andrew Sullivan points out in this horrifically poignant essay, and we all need to figure out how to unplug.

Add running a startup to the already-significant din of life, work and the world and you’ve got yourself a serious self-care challenge — a challenge #dctech entrepreneurs face everyday. So how do they do it? We reached out to a few very active and engaged #dctech figures to learn what strategies they employ in order to unplug and get away from it all.


Ximena Hartsock, cofounder at Phone2Action, has two main strategies — exercise and music. “I LOVE to run,” she wrote in an email. “When I run I can think more clearly about things and I tend to come up with the most creative solutions.” Hartsock also said she feels “re-energized” by music, and makes time to attend her favorite concerts and music festivals.

For Adam Zuckerman, founder of Fosterly, the answer is a bit more literal. “Long walks with the phone turned off or left behind” is his secret to getting away from it all, he writes, adding, “that said, I have three phones with me right now…”

We never said this is easy.

Marty Ringlein, CEO of events ticketing software company nvite, takes a similar approach. “That’s easy,” he writes, in response to my inquiry. “I have a dog, Preston (@puggle on Twitter). We go on at least two dog walks a day, every day, a minimum of 2 miles and at least 30 minutes at the dog park; that’s usually 4 to 5 miles a day — I purposefully leave my cell phone at home. It’s just me and man’s best friend taking a jaunt through one of the world’s greatest cities, every day, twice a day — doesn’t get much better than that.”


Shana Glenzer, CMO of MakeOffices and #dctech organizer extraordinaire (she’s behind DC Tech Meetup and is the cofounder of DCFemTech), also has specific rituals around which she tends to unplug. “During baseball season this is a no-brainer for me,” she wrote in an email to Technical.ly. “Catching a Washington Nationals game is one place where I can completely shut down my active mind and to-do lists and just enjoy myself.”

Winter is always a bit more challenging, Glenzer writes, but this winter she’ll have her hands full — she’s expecting twins.

Solo night out at the park to see Scherzer pitch. Relaxed. Happy.

A photo posted by Shana Glenzer (@shanaglenzer) on

All of this is fairly straightforward, though, when compared to the sheer diversity of strategies employed by Monica Kang. Kang, the new President of DMV Startup and founder of InnovatorsBox, has a full slate of ways to unplug as well as manage a busy workload and social life. These range from building in buffer time to her calendar, to doing something that is not work related, to being carefully intentional about the things that she does. “The more intentional I am throughout my day the easier it has been for me to step back and unplug,” Kang writes.


In reality, there isn’t a perfect, universal method when it comes to figuring out how to unplug and take time for self-care. It’s an individual process. So what’s your secret?

Want more richly researched and deeply sourced community reporting?  Become a Technical.ly member for $12 per month -30-
Already a member? Sign in here
Connect with companies from the Technical.ly community
New call-to-action


UrbanStems raises $12M Series B funding round, and gets new CEO

Applications are open for DC Startup Week 2019’s pitch competition

CIT Gap Funds invests in Charlottesville, Va.-based Babylon Micro-Farms



Verizon is looking for the brightest ideas on how to use its 5G technology

Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post

Full Stack Developer

Apply Now
Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post

Senior Full Stack Software Engineer

Apply Now
Washington, DC


Account Executive (DC)

Apply Now

CIT’s Virginia Founders Fund invests in Tysons-based Curbside Kitchen

Curbio closed on a $7M Series A funding round

HawkEye 360 closed a $70M Series B funding round



Escape the August heat with cool AI tech



Experienced Software Engineer – Backend

Apply Now

Marcus & Millichap

Marketing Assistant

Apply Now

CoStar Group

Marketing Graphic Designer

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Dc

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!