Summer Time, a time for stepping out of our daily work routines for long weekends and vacations. A time to leisurely enjoy family, friends and adventures. My clients who range in position from Director to CEO and all positions in between have taken advantage of the summer season to enjoy theme parks, cruises, embark on a 9-state caravan road trip, local beaches, Caribbean escapes, African Safaris’ and staycations. At on point in June during my 10-day excursion to Florida, five of my clients were enjoying the magic of Disney. (no, we did not connect for coaching sessions)
Taking time off for leisure can be stressful. The late A. Bartlett Giamatti, former president of Yale University and one-time commissioner of Major League Baseball said, “You can learn more about a society by observing the way they play as opposed to how they work.”
Our high-tech life with its accelerated pace has fostered a culture that seems to be always working, always rushed, always connected. With cell phones interrupting the theater, laptop computers at the beach, internet connections at every other café, and home offices that beckon us all hours of the night and day, it’s hard to separate “play” from “work.” Yet to maintain balance in our lives, and for our ultimate well-being, play is important. Lenore Terr, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of Beyond Love and Work: Why Adults Need to Play, argues that play is crucial at every stage of life. In play, we discover pleasure, cultivate feelings of accomplishment, and acquire a sense of belonging. When we play, we learn and mature and find an outlet for stress. “Play is a lost key,” Terr writes. “It unlocks the door to ourselves.”
When we are completely involved in play our cares and worries disappear. Sailing, playing a game of tennis, or being thoroughly engrossed in a good novel, we feel pleasurably alive and light-hearted. There is nothing like play that allows us to be present in the moment.
If you are hesitant to take time off for leisure – try the following 5 Step Summer Escape Plan. It appears simplistic, yet it is effective.
Step 1: Plan to be away. Schedule it on your calendar.
Step 2: Prepare to be away. Complete outstanding projects, tasks, meetings that require your attention. Avoid taking on new work that require you to lead or manage. Delegate early to ensure prep time for you to review upcoming events with your representative.
Step 3 – Promote being away. It should not come as a surprise to your staff, peers or stakeholders. Make sure those who have a need to know are aware of your plan to be out and have a point of contact in your absence.
Step 4 – Prevention Plan. Realistically, it may be difficult to totally disengage during your time off. Create a two-part prevention plan.
Part A – Identify one person to provide your itinerary in case of emergency. Clearly agree on the definition of an emergency.
Part B – Establish a set time daily to review and respond to emails and voicemails if you must. Make an agreement with family and friends that you will be working for a short period during this time. A great time would be between 6-8 am.
Note – this is not a time to schedule conference calls unless it is business critical or have been agreed upon prior to your leaving.
Step 5 – Pace your Return. Avoid scheduling meetings on your first day back. Allow yourself time to reconnect and get caught up. A great way to accomplish this is to make your first day back a work from home day.
Enjoy your Summer Days! I look forward to connecting with you to discuss
your individual or organizational needs. Don’t hesitate to contact me about coaching opportunities, training programs, leadership profiles and assessments or consulting services.