HR & Management
Healthy leaders have happy holidays – Why switching off is key to your success
4 min read
04 August 2017
It’s the time of year when suitcases are dusted off, passports are hunted down and if you’ve got children, the excitement in the house is reaching fever pitch. But why do many of us struggle to switch off even on holidays?
Firstly, let me deal with an urban myth which says the more hours you work, the more you will get done. In reality, the more hours you work, the less productive you become. Why? Because we all need quality downtime – a few holidays if you will. With 24/7 connectivity though it’s tough to completely switch off.
Here are five ways to ensure you rest your mind this Summer and why it’s important to overall business success to have proper holidays.
1) Prioritize and delegate in preparation
How many times do we look at our to-do list and think “I’ve got so much to do, I just haven’t got the time to do it all. Whilst that might be true, the question to ask is; “what have I got to do today, tomorrow, before I leave for my holiday?” Chunk up your work into manageable daily tasks and delegate tasks where you can.
Close out each day with a new task list for the next day based on what you achieved that day and what you hope to achieve tomorrow. You will see the progress and more importantly will feel in control.
2) Block out “quality downtime”
Whilst the utopia is being able to leave work and not think about it for the next two weeks for some business owners and leaders this is just not realistic and you need to be grounded in reality to make this work.
If a complete shutdown is not an option for you simply block out quality downtime instead; short, regular breaks where you switch off and are in the moment. You may agree to check in with the office every morning and evening but outside of this you are off the grid and none contactable.
3) Switch the button to OFF
When you’re not working and when it’s your downtime during holidays switch of phones, tablets, laptops. Seeing a flashing red light on your phone saying new email message is not going to help you switch off. Your natural curiosity will want to see who it is from and what it is about. And guess what, once you’ve had a look your mind is now switched into work world.
4) “A calm mind is your ultimate weapon against your challenges” (Bryant McGill)
This quote sums it up for me. Take comfort knowing that subconsciously your mind will be using the opportunity to work through any mental blockages you may be experiencing.
Whilst lying on a sun lounger that “aha” moment that you couldn’t quite get to or the solution to a problem that you couldn’t quite fathom may just come to you without even trying or thinking about it. Because you’ve actually given your mind space to work, to think it through without forcing it.
5) Test the impact of your absence
The mark of a great leader is how things operate whilst you’re away. Whilst we all want to feel needed and in demand, a great leader will use the opportunity to test how things run, how the team copes and makes decisions.
Their goal is not to trip people up, but to test the impact of their absence. You should take confidence that the business runs well in your absence and if not seek to build your leadership style and your people so that it can. For at least two weeks anyway!