When it comes to disconnecting for evenings, weekends and holidays most of us are better at acknowledging the importance of it than putting it into practice.
This represents a positive shift, in that people tend to ‘acknowledge’ the need/benefits of switching off these days, where as a decade ago working all hours was a bit of a badge of honor.
Whilst most of us acknowledge the benefits of switching-off and share this view with with others few of us properly role-model it. Instead too often they inform others about their over-work as a way of giving advice about ‘how not to work’. This can be unhelpful though because our minds struggle to process negatives – we process what we see and hear and therefore, we are left feeling that it is the way to work.
If most of us appreciate the benefits of switching off, the question is why are we not putting it into practice?
This is the question and also the answer. Perhaps not having a good enough ‘Why’ is the reason that many of us fail to disconnect. We feel it is something we ought to do, it is something that others say that we should do (although perhaps don’t role model themselves), we could probably list of generic benefits of switching off.
This got me thinking, in a work context when we have a new idea we want to put into practice, we build a business case. Should we building our own personal business cases for switching off?
Building your business case
This is a business case for yourself. Its purpose is to turn acknowledgement of the benefits of disconnecting into the action of disconnecting. Like any good business case, it starts with the Why, or in this case your Why.
This your purpose for switching off. Just like in a business case, it needs to be compelling, to convince you to take action.
- Why do you believe you should switch-off?
- Why is this important to you?
I asked myself and this is what I came up with –
I switch-off in order to fully connect with and make the most of the break that I am taking and the people I am with. Disconnecting allows me to rest and recharge enabling me to reconnect with renewed energy, creativity and be more productive when I return.
This step is about putting switching off into action. By now you are convinced that it is the right thing to switch-off. How do you do this in practice?
- What does being switched on look like?
- What does being switched off look like?
- What are the things that need to be switched off? Physically? Mentally?
- What do I need to do to switch each of these things off?
- What are my barriers? What steps can I take to overcome them?
This can be turned into a physical or mental check-list in order to put into practice.
These are some of my ‘How’s’? –
- Email app (and any work related apps) hidden from home-screen.
- Work phone (when I had one) at home. Personal number with a few trusted colleagues in case of a real emergency.
- Have a good conversation about all the things on my mind from work (this is what I need to decompress)
- Messages & What’s App notifications switched off (for anyone who is not on holiday with me)
What are you going to do once you have disconnected from work? What type of rest do you need?
Most of us think about sleep when we think about rest. In practice though, we don’t always feel full of energy after sleeping. We can feel energised from physically demanding activities like sports. In her TED Talk Saundra Dalton-Smith shares a different way of thinking about energy and rest. She talks about seven different types of rest needed to re-charge seven different types of energy. Not all of us need them all, but we all need at least some of them.
They provide inspiration for the third question in our business case, what to do when we have switched-off.
It also helps explain why a proper holiday makes us feel so refreshed – it has recharged all our different batteries.