It’s holiday season—a time for rest, relaxation, and trips with family and friends. But for many reasons, the idea of taking time off is tough for most leaders I coach.
Leaders often tell me they’re too busy to take time off. My coaching clients constantly express how stressed they feel as they prepare for vacation (or the aftermath of 200+ emails upon their return).
Many say they feel like they “have to” work during their vacation and aren’t the slightest bit rested when they come back.
“I need a vacation from my vacation,” one client shared.
Here are a few challenges my coaching clients have shared about why it’s hard for them to take breaks:
- Feeling the need to be available or “on call” even when out of town
- “Having” to check emails at night/weekends/on vacation for fear that they’d be too overwhelmed upon returning to work
- Feeling compelled to respond to crisis situations
- Worrying or becoming distracted when they should have been having FUN
- Choosing not to leave the local vicinity for vacation in case needed at work
- Going on vacation but being so consumed by work issues it was effectively “missed”
- Fearful that work will not be done while they’re away
In today’s speed of business there seems to be an expectation for instant responses.
Smart phones definitely serve a purpose. We use them for so many things: a phone, camera, gaming device, social media link, AND, probably most importantly, the device that keeps us connected to our offices.
We rely on these little gadgets like our lives depend on it. We’re addicted.
But constantly checking your phone might be one habit that’s hurting your engagement, productivity, and satisfaction.
The fact is, sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to slow down and take breaks so we can be most productive and engaged.
The Price You Pay When You’re Always Connected
When you constantly check your phone, you might begin to avoid “real” interactions with others.
Not being able to fight the urge to check your phone might inhibit engaged conversation with someone in your presence, making them feel disrespected and unimportant.
This behavior can also get in the way of enjoying down time or family events and vacations, launching the user into a tailspin with one look at a subject line or message sender. That’s no fun!
When you are always “on” and “going,” your energy can get so depleted that you’re not serving anyone well.
Take advantage of your days off (and respect others’ time off as well) so that you can replenish your energy and come back prepared to be fully engaged. (See also: Are You Promoting a Workaholic Culture?)
If you have some vacation to go, or an upcoming holiday planned, here are some tips that will help you break the technology tether so you can actually ENJOY your break!
1) Gain awareness.
Observe yourself and how often you’re checking your phone throughout the day/evening (keep a tally) and the impact it’s having.
Notice the themes in times of day, and what you should be doing instead. This will help you create a better plan of action!
2) Create technology-free times.
Put the phone away for an hour or so during the day, or turn off the applications that are distracting you.
Allot specific times of the day to checking/responding to messages and focus on productive activities otherwise.
3) Honor technology-free zones.
Leave your phone by the door, or banish its use during social gatherings or family times (think dinner, movies, parties, etc.) and ask others to do the same.
4) Build new habits.
New habits can be learned, but they take time. Don’t give up after your first try (and failure) at ignoring that tiny beep.
Research shows that it can take 21 days to form new behaviors, and it takes effort, dedication, and support.
5) Get support.
Ask others to help hold you accountable for these new behaviors. Consider talking with your staff about what constitutes an “emergency” or “urgent” when it comes to messaging you.
Delegate tasks to others so that you don’t feel the need to respond or get involved in every situation that pops up.
Where do you go to rest and replenish your energy?
What small steps can you take to lessen the urge to respond to work emails/messages?
If you want coaching to help you engage for greater results, schedule a Complimentary Discovery Call with me today! You can also download my free gift, “The Rule-Breaker’s Guide to Managing Your Energy at Work” to learn how to LOVE what you do every day!