Turn Off for the Holidays
I just returned from my last business trip of the year. Yet as I write this, I'm about to get on yet another plane.
But this time, I'm leaving the "business" behind. This trip will be about paying attention to family and myself. (Yes, I'll probably do some dreaming about what's next for my clients in 2019, but that's the fun part.)
Ultimately, it’s by “turning off” that I believe I'll be able to "turn back on" much brighter when I return.
There are places in the world that find the time to turn off for a whole month. Like Europe. The entire month of August is when they take the time for stopping the grind and stepping away from life.
That's my fantasy. I like imagining tons of hard-driving Parisians basking in the glow of a summer’s night in Provence while they dream up new ways to be, well, fabulously French.
What if we used the Christmas/New Year Holiday break to truly take a break? Break from work. Break from technology. Break from the craziness of the “holiday season.”
Partners + Napier, the advertising agency based in Rochester, does just that. CEO Sharon Napier says not only do they give everyone off between Christmas and New Year’s but they do it in the summer around the 4th of July.
“We work hard and play hard, and we take needed breaks to rest and recharge our creativity around when our clients take breaks.”
Meaning they acknowledge what may not be official but in the end is true: No one is getting much done between Christmas and New Year’s, so why pretend?
And it’s not just the break from going into the office. It’s about what connection and disconnection mean for you during that break
Erica Keswin, a workplace strategist and founder of the Spaghetti Project and author of the new best-selling book, Bring Your Human to Work, says often when “left to our own 'devices’ we aren’t connecting or disconnecting.” She suggests being intentional about where, when and how to disconnect, including coming up with a plan for technology with family on vacation. “We have to disconnect to be able to reconnect.”
Of course for some, there’s no disconnecting during the holiday season or any season — such as those in retail, hospitality and of course those who are in life-saving professions. And yes, I know there are many who do not have the luxury of turning off.
Yet I can’t help but think that all humans need the chance to reflect, recharge and reboot. It doesn’t require leaving town or great expense. A walk in the woods, taking a deep breath outdoors, doing a puzzle, even cooking a great meal for loved ones can be just the thing you need to disconnect and transition from “doing” into “being” mode.
Right about this point in the column, my family is laughing out loud at the notion that I’ll actually turn off. I like to tell them that my aspirations can lead to good intentions and maybe even change. And yes, writing it out and saying it out loud always ends up requiring me to follow-through on those intentions.
So even if you can’t completely turn off, do what I do and just use your internal dimmer and lower the intensity so you can brighten up the holiday season in another way. Then take that glow into New Year’s Eve and beyond.
Happy Holidays to one and all, and here’s to a bright, beautiful and disconnected — yet glowing — season.
As seen in the USA Today Network, Garnett Newspapers and the Democrat & Chronicle.