Ah, summer. It’s finally here. It felt like it took a while to arrive but once it did – BAM – 40-degree heat! But, let’s not complain. It was a long and cool spring so let’s luxuriate for awhile in the warmth of the sun…
With summer here, have we all planned our holidays? Have we booked time away from the office? We truly hope that it’s possible for each and every one of our readers to take their holidays.
Do you struggle, though, with stepping away from the office? Last year we wrote about all the reasons why leaders need to take their holidays, but we know that it can be difficult to get away. However, we really encourage everyone to do their best to vacate the office for a few weeks; it will benefit our mental health, our productivity, our creativity and ultimately the communities we serve. If you need some help understanding why time off and time far away from the office is critical, we’ve assembled some blogs and articles to help illustrate the benefits.
We don’t think of our brain in the same way as the rest of our body. When we’ve done something physically exhausting like running or hiking or lifting weights, we rest in order to recover. But we don’t do that for our brains often, and brain exhaustion is a real thing. Our brains account for 20% of our calorie burn so we have to rest and replenish in order to get the most out of our grey matter.
This article suggests that changing our environments can lead to greater creativity. “For example, one study showed that hiking in nature disconnected from all devices for four days—a very unusual experience in our day and age—led to a 50 percent spike in creativity.” So even if all we can get at the moment is a day or two off, we can consider doing something completely out of the ordinary for ourselves and see how creative we feel once we’re back to work.
Research shows that taking time off is actually really good for our brains and can increase our productivity, our accomplishments and improve our work-life balance. Time off may mean the Pomodoro method (25 minutes of work, then 5 minutes of recreation), or actually taking our holidays. Time away from the task at hand and the office can help us actually accomplish more and improve our quality of life. Win-win.
Dive right into this article! Not only does it share how overworking affects our actual success and wellbeing, it also shares links to articles that debunk the myth that those who skip vacations get ahead, and uncover what kinds of vacations reduce stress the most. They also point out that some vacations may actually increase stress if they’re poorly planned. Eek. Let’s make sure we’re getting the most out of our vacations when we do take them!
Okay, not all of us are in organizations where a sabbatical is feasible, however, it is something to consider, especially vis-à-vis leadership development. According to the research, “[sabbaticals] benefit the organization by stress-testing the organizational chart and providing interim roles to allow aspiring employees to take on more leadership.” Having more senior employees step away for a good chunk of time allows for more junior leaders to step up and try out leading. It may be a great option for building into our organizational succession and professional development plans.
We hope these articles have encouraged everyone to plan their holidays and take a vacation! And, maybe even consider a sabbatical. Time away, when planned well, can have a positive impact on ourselves and our organizations. It’s time we did away with the notion that skipping our holidays results in greater achievement. Depending on our organization and our circumstance, time away may be a difficult thing to manage but we hope that these links may be helpful in building a case.
And once we’re back at the office, summertime is the perfect time to think about our leadership goals and professional development. Check out this blog from last summer for ideas!
Until next time,
The PLC Team