How to Truly Disconnect from Work over the Holidays

Technology is great but it has made it more and more challenging to have boundaries – that is why I put together this quick list of How to Truly Disconnect from Work over the Holidays. At the end of the day, we each just want to be more present in the moment – for ourselves, our spouse, our friends and our kids. Multitasking and driving ourselves mad is not the answer. Allowing ourselves to have a “true disconnect” from work for a few days is key – and it is nothing to feel guilty about.

So, what is a “true disconnect”? For me, it is being proactive instead of reactive, setting boundaries, communicating them to others and focusing on what is in my control.

A recent Forbes article discussed the term “Sensitive Striver” who is a high-achiever who is also more sensitive to their emotions, the world, and the behavior of those around them. Sensitive Strivers are genetically programmed to process information more deeply than their less sensitive peers. Sensitive Strivers are driven to succeed and give their 100% to everything they do – all with an inner world on overdrive. Many are former gold-star students who bring that same commitment into the workplace. Unfortunately, Sensitive Strivers have to work that much harder to set boundaries, speak up and say NO… and, they are most likely to get burned out.

Below are my 10 ways to help disconnect from work and truly enjoy time off:

  1. The work will always be there. Your sanity may not be. You first have to change your mindset about work. It is just work. It is not your entire life. It is in your control if you let it be #1 in your life or not. If you work all the time, your boss isn’t going to stop you. If you set clear boundaries and show work that your life is #1, I bet they will respect you even more. Make sure you turn your out of office on. Make sure everyone on your team knows you’ll be away in advance. Communicate your wishes with your team and your boss. Update your technology status (for instance, Slack, Teams, etc) and indicate when and for how long you will be taking time off, so your team is informed in advance.
  2. Make a list of your priorities. What should get your time over the holidays? You need to be on that list. In fact, you need to be #1. No one else is going to exercise for you. No one else is going to eat veggies for you. You gotta make yourself a priority. I can keep you accountable. Let’s chat for 30 minutes!
  3. Help your boss appoint someone else who can be your holiday replacement who is available for questions while you are away – if this is needed. Help your boss help you. In fact, talk to him/her about his/her time off and make sure all is well communicated and offer to help when you are working. This is a give and take.
  4. Set expectations and be clear about when and how people can contact you in urgent cases. Be clear with what is an emergency. Provide an emergency phone number for your coworkers so people can reach you for truly urgent matters.
  5. Be disciplined and resist the temptation to check your work messages all day long. In fact, consider taking that technology off of your phone for a day or so. Set “Do not disturb” and turn off push notifications after your working hours or while you are enjoying time off.
  6. Say NO to things that don’t need to happen this time of year. If sending out 200 Christmas cards is taking time away from your walking, meals, etc. let that go this year.
  7. If you work from home, set clear boundaries around when you are working and when you are not. Be clear with your team and stick to a schedule.
  8. Think about what and who you are allowing into your energy. This is in your control. Let go of the negative.
  9. Lead by example: Think twice before sending messages to people who are taking time off. Use Scheduled Send to schedule messages for the time the recipient is back from time off (for instance, Monday, 9 a.m.). Thus, you can scratch a task off your list but avoid disturbing others while they are taking time off.
  10. Lighten the meeting load and make it easier for others to catch up after time off. Instead of video-conferencing just talk on the phone. Our team at Performance Mindset and Development uses Trello which is fantastic and has prevented the need for so many status meetings. This also makes it possible for people to read these updates in their own time or when they get back from time off.

Join my Facebook group The Bee’s Knees for extra work/life balance support leading up to Christmas! I am taking new clients in the new year – schedule a 30-minute free breakthrough session and let’s start working on your goals for the new year!

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