“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” – Alan Cohen
In today's fast-paced and digitally connected world, the concept of unwinding and truly disconnecting from work has become increasingly challenging for professionals. However, the importance of taking a step back and embracing a temporary break from the demands of the workplace cannot be overstated. There are many benefits to deliberately disconnecting from work for a time, starting with improved personal well-being and family connection. Breaks also allow individuals to recharge, paving the way for enhanced productivity, creativity, and overall job satisfaction. People are simply more productive when they are well-rested. In fact, Researcher Mark Rosekind of Alertness Solutions found that the respite effect of a vacation can increase performance by 80%.
We know that a conscious decision to unplug can foster a healthier work-life balance and pave the way for sustained success in both personal and professional realms. So, let’s talk about disconnecting for the holidays. How do you create boundaries and take yourself out of the bustle of work during the holidays so you can create recreation and reconnect with your family - and yourself?
How to Disconnect for the Holidays
Taking a real break during the holidays is essential for business leaders and high-powered executives because they are “on” so much of the time. Being present during the holidays can improve overall well-being through rest, relaxation, and recreation and by spending quality time with loved ones. Here are some strategies to help you take the time you need to rest and reconnect:
1. Set Clear Boundaries
Clearly communicate with your team and colleagues about your holiday schedule and the importance of taking a break. Set clear expectations for response times during this period and let them know that they are encouraged to take a break as well.
2. Delegate Responsibilities
If you are taking more days than just statutory holidays, ensure that responsibilities are delegated appropriately before you leave. Empower your team to make decisions in your absence, and trust them to handle day-to-day operations.
3. Plan Ahead
Anticipate any potential issues or challenges that may arise during your absence and address them proactively. This can help prevent the need for urgent communication during the holidays.
4. Automate and Schedule
Use automation tools to schedule emails, social media posts, and other routine tasks. This can help maintain a digital presence without requiring constant attention during the holidays.
5. Create an Out-of-Office Message
Set up a clear and informative out-of-office email response. Include details about your unavailability, an alternative contact person if necessary, and the date of your return.
6. Turn Off Notifications
Disable non-essential work-related notifications on your devices. This helps to minimize distractions and allows you to focus on the present moment during your holiday break.
7. Prioritize Family and Personal Time
Make a conscious effort to prioritize family and personal time during the holidays. Set specific periods for work-related tasks if absolutely necessary, but avoid letting work take over your entire break.
8. Take a Break from Your Cell Phone and Social Media
Designate certain areas or times as technology-free zones, where phones and other devices are put away and you are not checking or posting on social media. This can help you be fully present with your loved ones and enjoy the holiday atmosphere.
9. Engage in Relaxing Activities
Plan recreational activities that help you relax and unwind. Whether it's reading a book, taking a nature walk, going skiing with the family, or practicing mindfulness, engage in activities that bring you joy and reduce stress.
10. Reflect and Set Goals
Take some time to reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming one. This can be done in a relaxed and thoughtful manner, away from the daily pressures of work. Think journaling instead of a list in an Excel spreadsheet.
Remember, taking time off and disconnecting is not only beneficial for personal well-being but can also contribute to increased productivity and creativity when you return to work. It allows you to come back after the holidays with a fresh perspective and renewed energy.
Wishing You and Your Family a Very Happy Holiday Season
At Heffelfinger Company, we value hard work and helping our clients achieve their business goals but we also understand the value of taking breaks and being truly present for ourselves and our loved ones during the holidays. We hope this article will inspire you to take a much-needed break during the holidays. Wishing you and your loved ones a truly relaxing and connected holiday season.
James & Lori
James Jackman & Lori Heffelfinger