Disconnect to Recharge and Increase Productivity
We live in a world that is always on. We work. When we leave work, we bring our laptops and our cell phones home. We have 24/7 access to our email. And, it seems, people have 24/7 access to us.
But are we really getting more done with this ‘always on’ mentality?
In an article talking about the importance of vacations (and how Americans are taking fewer vacation days), the author details the impact of not detaching from work. A study by Sabine Sonnentag, professor of organizational psychology, cites the symptoms of burnout to include a drop in productivity.
We may think that checking our email one more time is going to help us catch up or get ahead, but it most likely is contributing to an overall decrease in productivity.
The first response when we tell people that they may need to take some time, they say (in a panic-ridden voice) “I don’t have time.”
So what are ways you can get the most out of your time off and really disconnect?
- Take a vacation
Taking an extended vacation is ideal. Taking longer time off allows you to fully disconnect and recharge.
- Take a long weekend
If you are busy at work, taking extended time off may seem stressful. Consider taking a long weekend instead. The key to vacation (no matter the length of time) is to completely disconnect. This means leaving the laptop at home. This means not checking your email or voicemail. Focus on something else.
- Disconnect for the entire weekend
If taking an extended weekend is not possible right now, decide to take the entire weekend off. If possible, change your scenery. Go somewhere new. Completely disconnect for 2 days.
- Consider short breaks (try the Pomodoro Technique)
Some people will say “I work every weekend. There is no way I can take off.” You may have too many things on your plate (and you may want to consider outsourcing or hiring an assistant). You may need to re-prioritize your tasks. And you may just be in crazy “build mode” that requires some crazy (and hopefully temporary) hours. If you are in this scenario, consider the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique suggests breaking down all of your tasks into 25-minute time blocks. Between each time block, there is a five-minute break. After completing 4 Pomodoros you take a longer break—usually 15 to 30 minutes. Check out the video below explaining the Pomodoro technique.
REMEMBER: Your break time is about disconnecting.
Whether that’s taking a walk around the building, eating outside and taking in some fresh air, or listening to music, take a minimum of 15 minutes (and hopefully longer) to refocus. Don’t check email. If you are walking with someone, don’t talk business. Take this as your time to rejuvenate.
Photo Credit: Marion Michele