Executive Vitality™: Turning Off and Turning On

Executive Vitality™: Turning Off and Turning OnHappy New Year! When you read this, it will likely be early January. I hope, for the sake of your Executive Vitality, you had some rest and relaxation time over the holidays.

Most senior executives are hard-wired to work constantly and to consider not working to be negative. Please remember: recovery time is necessary too if we are to continue to perform at our best. The capacity to turn it all off for a bit, e.g., by taking a vacation, is essential to turning it all back on again post-vacation. Many executives simply ignore that reality.

Not taking a break from work sometimes – a real break – is analogous to over-training physically. Your performance declines and you put yourself at risk for at least 6 physiological problems when you don’t take a rest.

Letting go is critical to resilience, productivity, creativity and leadership skill.

Here are some steps you can take pre-break to make your departure and your reentry on the other side of vacation (or other significant break from work) easier and less stressful.

  • Avoid facing a mountain of minutiae when you return from your break. Don’t allow yourself to be threatened by an avalanche of the urgent, distracting you from the important. Get done what you can before your break and delegate the rest.
  • Plan to be in control of your priorities when you return. Make a prioritized list of what you need to do upon your return. Adjust it for reality (the inevitable pop-up issues) upon return.
  • Remember you are striving for organization on the way out and mastery on the way back in after your break. It sounds simplistic, but take the time to straighten up your office before you go.
  • Buffer the zone between work and break. We are not light switches that turn on and off. We need to think about transition time and activities; those are different for all of us. On person might go for a walk, another might meet a friend for a coffee.
  • Have the intention to get the most out of your R&R. It will pay dividends in terms of renewed vitality when you come back to the office.

Letting go has become a bigger problem than it used to be with all of our hyper connectivity. We spoke about not being tethered to your phone at all times last month — with 5 ways to unleash yourself. It is more important than ever to be conscious about taking these steps.

What helps you disconnect so you get the R&R you deserve? What steps can you take that will ease the stress of reentry?

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