When I was younger I used to do a lot of athletics (I was quite reasonable over 400 metres) and our training group used to have a real problem with rest days. Doing nothing can be really hard, whereas dong something makes you feel better, even if it is counter-productive. In the end our coach renamed rest days as active recovery days and gave us a stern lecture that we were undoing all the good training we put in if we did not take our active recovery (ie nothing) and allows our bodies to catch-up.
It can be the same with holidays – people mistake activity for progress and feel guilty if they are not busy. I have also met managers determined to micro-manage from a distance. I think the real fear there is that if they allow people to get on with things and it all continues to run smoothly, their ‘non-role’ will be exposed. I am lucky enough to work with some top rate people. So my holiday is a chance for them to get on with their work without interruption from me – if there is an emergency they have my mobile phone number…
A holiday is not about ‘not working’ – it is a required recharge so that you can continue to deliver at 100% when you do work. I am always amazed how much I get done in the week back from holiday because I am recovered and very well motivated.
It is also the time when that cliche of ‘thinking outside the box’ actually occurs. Away from the constant frantic life of work, I can think and let my brain just ponder things in a relaxed and different setting.
So make sure that holidays are seen not just as ‘down time’ but as a key part in achieving success. By all means leave an emergency number, but the laptop should stay in it box, the Blackberry should be switched off (if its important they will call you) and I will look forward to seeing you on the beach…
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