Unplugged Vacation

Hi there!

I am about to leave with my family for our vacation. I predict that I’ll get little sleep in the next 24 hours  packing, finishing charts, completing projects. My bad, I know.  Unfortunately, I am often exhausted  when I go out of town for work or for pleasure. Sounds crazy, but I actually enjoy sitting still and fastening my seatbelt for the flight, knowing that the cell phone is off, and things will just have to wait. I pray for a little leg room and a non-chatty seat-mate….sounds rude, but I just appreciate the quiet so much, and I hope for a nap.  Read on….Unplugged.

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen. ~Leonardo Da Vinci

Pediatrician/blogger Wendy Sue Swanson took a vacation, and felt the need to unplug from her electronic world for a time too. She described it as an act of both self-reflection and self-awareness but also an act of self-preservation. Work and life are busy enough, but we have now added another layer, our on-line life. Whether you use your computer professionally, send an occasional email,  have Facebook always on, or send 50 tweets per day, nearly all of us have a  relationship with the electronic world, as we consume and are sometimes overloaded with information. With social networks, this electronic relationship impacts our human interactions as well.

While sometimes overwhelmed by technology, we rely on it as well. Fox News reported on a survey that reported 53%of people would be very “upset” by a temporary disconnection with the Internet. A voluntary 24-hr technology break was described by one participant as “having my hand chopped off.”

“Online and digital technology is increasingly pervasive, influencing our friendships, the way we communicate, the fabric of our family life, our work lives, our buying habits and our dealings with organizations,” Paul Hudson, chief executive of Intersperience, told the Daily Telegraph.

This gets even trickier when we try to get away. Perhaps it is part of the reason that we have a hard time getting away…the fear of disconnect. According to Mike Thomas, Americans receive fewer vacation days annually than their European counterparts. Despite receiving fewer vacation days, American workers often don’t use all of their allotted paid time off.  Yikes.

He continues: “Despite deadlines, it’s in employers’ best interest for workers to use their vacation time. It’s also in the best interest of employees, too. How and why? Let’s use telemarketing as a microcosm of all work (because their cycle is brief). Most phone jockeys have very short training times – they get up to speed very quickly. Soon after training, they reach their peak value to the company. They make sales and qualify leads rapidly. But after a period of time repeating the same script every call of every day of every week, they get burnt out. Then their performance plummets and they lose value to the company. In most industries, this cycle may take years (because most jobs aren’t as mind-numbingly repetitive as telemarketing). The point, though, is that sooner or later everybody gets job burn out. It may be minor (causing one to daydream on the job) or major (developing ulcers).

Logically, if you can hold off burn out, then you can add value to yourself as a worker. Vacations are the way to do this because:

  • Holds off boredom. Nobody likes being bored. Boredom leads to unsatisfactory performance. It also leads to mistakes. Therefore, boredom costs employers money in productivity. Bored employees are also less satisfied with their jobs – which only feeds the cycle. Vacations offer a change of venue, thereby refreshing the mind, leading to more valuable employees.
  • Alternative stress. Anyone who’s ever taken a vacation can attest to the fact that they aren’t relaxing. Plans have to be made, money is spent, things invariably go wrong and at least one item is either lost or broken. And, with modern security checks, airports offer their own unique stresses. But these stresses are different from those found at work. They force vacationers to think differently. These stresses help break the burn out cycle.
  • Culture. It’s not necessary to stare at abstract paintings or ancient statues for hours to get culture. Simply visiting another part of the country – a different state or town – offers cultural opportunities. Doing something different allows one to absorb culture. Different towns, states and parts of the country have different mindsets and personalities. This helps to reinvigorate the mind and helps offer a fresh prospective to work. Both of which adds value to the employee.

IN A NUTSHELL: Vacations increase value by staving off boredom, applying different stresses and offering culture – all of which reinvigorate employees.

Me? I will do a few work things on the beach. But I’ve left behind the business and marketing books, and plan to read a novel and nap.

ACTION PLAN
Do you dare take a digital vacation? Tell me about it!

LOOK WHO’S TALKING
Hi Susan,
Another great newsletter! I too have a university automobile. I can’t imagine where I would be today without all the tapes, CDs and videos I’ve watched or listened to for the past 20 years. If only I could remember it all! Thanks for the tip on www.Ted.com. What a terrific web site.

Mandy Cohen, www.CohenConsultingGroup.com, Sonoma, CA

p.s. I’d love to hear your comments and questions! What do you want to know, but are afraid to ask?

Enjoy a Positively Beautiful Life!

Dr. Susan Mathison

 

 

Susan Mathison, M.D.
PositivelyBeautiful.com

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Nothing in this blog should be considered personalized healthcare advice. Although we may answer your general questions, no communication should be deemed as personalized healthcare advice.

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