Be a better leader and take a break. The holiday season is in full swing, and whether you’ve booked a two-week stint abroad, a staycation, or simply a long weekend, it’s time to calm your mental chatter, re-energise and recharge. The urban myth, which says the more hours you work, the more you will get done, is just that, an urban myth. The more hours you work, the less productive you become. With 24/7 connectivity, it’s tough to switch off completely. We all need quality downtime away from the daily demands and routines of the working day.
With 24/7 connectivity, it’s tough to switch off completely. We all need quality downtime away from the daily demands and routines of the working day. Burnout at work is honest and maybe more common than you think.
The UK Government’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE) define work-related stress, depression or anxiety as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands placed on them at work. In 2020/2021, the total number of individuals with work-related stress, depression or anxiety was 822,000, a prevalence rate of 2,480 per 100,000 workers. This is higher than the 2018/2019 pre-pandemic levels.
Be a better leader – five reasons why taking a break is good for you, and the business
#1 Help prevent workplace burnout
The term’ workplace burnout’ is officially being recognised as an “occupational phenomenon.” According to the World Health Organization, the agency that guides many health providers and organisations, burnout is the direct result of “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Behavioural changes from workplace burnout may include;
Clock watching at working
Poor sleep patterns
Loss of appetite
The dreaded ‘Sunday night’ feeling as the weekend comes to a close
Unable to switch off
Your wellbeing is critical to your business’s wellbeing. To give your best, you have to be at your best. Being healthy and motivated can positively impact your business’s productivity and effectiveness, but remember, the opposite is also true.
#2 Test the impact of your absence
The mark of a great leader is how things operate while you’re away. While we all want to feel needed and in demand, a great leader will use the opportunity to test how things run and how the team copes and makes decisions.
Your goal is not to trip people up but to test the impact of your absence. You should take confidence that the business or your department runs well in your absence and, if not, seek to build your leadership style and develop your people so that it does.
#3 Build the habit of prioritising & delegating tasks
How often do you look at your to-do list and think, ‘I’ve got so much to do, I just haven’t got the time to do it all.
While that might be true, the question to ask is, ‘what have I got to do today, tomorrow, before I leave for my break away from the office?’
A period of absence away from the office focuses the mind on what’s urgent, important, unimportant and just plain ‘noise’. Chunk up your work into manageable daily tasks and delegate tasks where you can, and when you return from your break away, keep these principles in place.
#4 Agree your ‘Quality Downtime’
While the utopia is being able to leave work and not think about it for the next two weeks for some business owners and leaders, this is just not realistic, and you need to be grounded in reality to make this work.
If a complete shutdown is not an option for you, block out quality downtime instead; short, regular breaks where you switch off and are in the moment. You may agree to check in with the office every morning and evening, but outside of this, you are off the grid and none contactable.
#5 Quieten your mind
Bryant McGill summed it nicely when he said, ‘A calm mind is your ultimate weapon against your challenges’.
Take comfort, knowing that subconsciously your mind will be using the opportunity to work through any mental blockages you may be experiencing.
While lying on a sun lounger, that ‘aha’ moment that you couldn’t quite get to or the solution to a problem that you couldn’t quite fathom may come to you without even thinking about it.
Because you’ve given your mind space to work and think through without force, some of the most important conversations you have are inside your head, with yourself. It would help if you allowed your mind time to be quiet. I guarantee it will improve the quality of your internal conversations.
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