So it’s nearing the end of January and I already need a holiday. Time for the annual leave switch off, yeah?
I kid, I kid.
The start of 2018 has been relatively kind to me, but that’s not to say that I’m not excited at the prospect of a long weekend away with my mum at the start of February. Like many over thinkers, I find it hard to switch off and really enjoy annual leave, so much so that I’ve consciously come up with ways of settling my mind from going into overdrive.
Fancy seeing what they are?
Remembering my responsibility as a leader of a team
Do I want the talented, hard working people in my team to log in on their well earned holidays and answer their emails and finish off bits of work?
I think not.
Yet, by doing this myself I’m either making them feel like it’s an expectation to do the same, or I’m normalising that behaviour and making it more acceptable to not make the most of time off. Without practicing what I preach, all my chat about switching off and having time away from the workplace is literally just that… meaningless chat.
People are genuinely better for time off work, they come back with refreshed mindsets and a whole host of new ideas thanks to the physical and mental headspace. So, whilst it’s tempting to check in and see how things are getting on , I try remind myself that if people really need me, they have ways and means of doing so.
Noone likes a work martyr
I like to think that in the workplace, we prove the value we add through the hard work and dedication we bring each day.
With this in mind, a wise person in the industry once told me that the sign of a a well managed team is one that can function on it’s own in the short term. If your team can manage whilst you’re off for a week, it’s a sure sign they have the right amount of exposure and responsibility and that you’re not sheltering them from day to day stuff that they are capable of.
For me, logging in and checking on emails and work whilst I’m off is a sure fire way of telling my team I don’t have trust in them to move projects along and resolve issues in my absence.
Whilst I’m not there as a support net, they might find ways of doing things that are different and better to what I’d suggest.
Furthermore, I’m not so arrogant to think that the business cannot survive without my presence for a short period of time. Yes, I bring it to work everyday – but a huge part of that is building the team and giving them the support they need so that they can cope on their own.
Time away from you is just as educational as time one on one.
Zone out when you zone out
So you’re in *x beautiful destination* enjoying *x delicious beverage* and the thought of that project settles at the front of your mind.
Oh I should email so and so because it’d be great if they did x, y and z.
No. Stop right there.
Make a note of your idea, and then force your mind to be in the present!
For me, I mentally have to remind myself of where I am, how I feel, what I can see. Funny how once you get better at this it becomes an invaluable tool, especially after a long day at work when you’re struggling to switch off. Concentrating on the way the mattress and duvet is hugging your body just makes bedtime feel that bit more cosy!
Your annual leave switch off made easy
So there you have it, three simple techniques I try deploy when I’m off work – whether it be two days or two weeks.
How do you switch off?