The holidays are here and many people will take end of the year vacation time away from work to be with family and friends. My company has a use it or lose it policy and I have several peers that are taking days and still losing time.
I know that many folks that are technically off will still find themselves working every day by responding to e-mails, attending meetings and checking performance numbers. Managers are important people with many others depending upon them. At the same time, I think there is no more important job than that of a mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister and friend.
Jobs are temporary but your family should be forever.
It took me a long time to learn this lesson and realize that it was hurting my family and ultimately my performance at work by not truly disconnecting from time to time. Here are some ideas that have worked for me:
• Chose a POC to be in your place when gone. This requires empowering the person to make any needed decision. Set this person up for success with good information and your confidence. Let her know that you will stand by whatever decision is made. This can turn out to be great development for the person and a motivator for the team as they see others being developed.
• Turn off e-mail. The e-mail icon with a growing number can be a terrible temptation. Turning off the sync feature will keep you from sneaking a peak and helps reduce the stress of knowing there is so much waiting.
• Still need to read e-mail? Schedule yourself time when it does not interfere with the family and commit to using that time only. I do this by blocking an hour very early in the morning and again late in the afternoon.
• Put the phone down! Believe it or not the world is not going to end if you put your phone away for an entire day. Give to your spouse if you just can’t resist.
• Set a no electronics time for the entire family. Make it known that you are committing to this and that you want everyone to join.
• Be an example! When you as a manager still overtly work when off, it sends a subtle message to the team that off is not really off. Many will think they must do the same and stay connected when away. Your folks work hard and deserve a leader that cares as much about their away time as their here at work time.
Material stuff is great but in many ways the greatest gift you can give those around you this holiday season is to be fully present with them. Do it now before you find yourself someday alone with only your e-mail as a friend. Pretty hard to get a hug from e-mail huh?
What about you? How do you disconnect from work and connect with the family when off? Got any tips to share?