Sarah Sobieski | Downtime

 

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Sarah Sobieski writes about taking time off so that you can completely refuel, decompress and head back to work fully engaged.

Your best thinking and learning occurs when your body is at rest.  It’s known as the creative pause and it refers to the increasingly rare downtime most of the U.S. workfouce has to rest and to quietly reflect.  Between checking electronic devices constantly and demanding workloads created by the modern workplace we have lost touch with what it means to have true downtime. Using your allotted time off to be free from being connected so that you can refuel is important for your health and productivity. If you don’t ensure that you’re taking the time to completely relax, burnout is inevitable. 

Many people just don’t understand how important structured and real-time off is to leadership productivity and effectiveness.  A recent study conducted by Harvard University demonstrated that structured time off was beneficial to individuals and organizations in a number of ways.  We all know how personally beneficial a vacation is and how refreshed we are when we return to work.  This particular study required that participants take extra time off work. The results demonstrated that not only did work product and client satisfaction not suffer, but that the firm benefited from the conversations that took place around how to make the extra time off work.  Apparently, the added engagement around the work process was beneficial in itself.

Because we are so electronically connected to work, true downtime is increasingly rare.  Many employees and leaders alike feel pressured to be accessible at all times.  Technology is a detriment to our personal lives in that regard.  In our uber-connected world, we simply cannot hide.  Even when we are not working, we are constantly “on” and monitoring our technology.  In this sense, many of us are never “off.”  This constantly plugged-in state is stressful.  It deprives us of the rest we need to really rejuvenate.  The New York Times reported on the ill effects of all this hyper-connectivity in an article entitled “Digital devices deprive brain of needed downtime.”  The researchers believed that downtime was essential to allow the brain to review and solidify long-term learning.

 

The New York Times reported on the ill effects of all this hyper-connectivity in an article entitled “Digital devices deprive brain of needed downtime.”  The researchers believed that downtime was essential to allow the brain to review and solidify long-term learning. Some of us use digital devices such to unwind but another study cited in the NYTimes, led researchers to conclude that technological stimulation appears to “overtax” the brain and that we’d be better off with a walk in the neighborhood or preferably nature if that’s convenient for you.  So this weekend as you’re enjoying downtime think twice before picking up your smartphone. You’re brain will thank you for it on Tuesday.

How do you decompress?  Please share below!

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