I have an amazing (but very energetic) husband, 3 young kids and a growing business. All of which I love very much but balancing my commitment to each is really hard. Truly switching off is really hard.

The leaders we work with echo my thoughts. CEO’s and Non-Executive Directors of for-purpose organisations large and small, trying to solve very complex social and environmental problems say the same. Loving what they do makes it hard to switch off. Investing in rare disease research, understanding environmental challenges, supporting victims of domestic violence… all challenges our clients work tirelessly to solve.

Recently, I listened to a ‘Don’t Stop Us Now’ podcast (How to Switch Off) by the fabulous Greta Thomas and Claire Hatton, who were talking about why it’s important to switch off and how to do it well. I feel like I’ve stepped boldly into 2019 a calmer version of myself. Relaxed after a 2-week holiday in Byron and energised to keep driving People for Purpose forward.

Greta and Claire explained why I feel so good, which I’m sharing with you in our leadership community. Here’s how to switch off properly (and there’s science around why this is critical). And speaking of science, this isn’t rocket science…

We perform better after a break. According to a study conducted by EY, 10 hours of holiday equals an 8% increase in productivity and there’s a tonne of evidence to support the idea that switching off is important.

We think we have to be busy and stay busy and people actually let annual leave bank up! Don’t be one of those people.

  1. Plan a holiday (and USE your annual leave).

My husband is incredible at planning holidays. He will have every possible holiday period and long weekend mapped out and organised for our family for the next 2 years (maybe even 3). Planning your next holiday means there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and you will commit to taking leave and a break. You know what they say about failing to plan . . .

  1. Do something different.

I have a beautiful yellow bicycle, but I hardly use it. I took my bike with us on holiday and rode it almost every day and I felt very happy and healthy. Fresh air, exercise and it’s bright yellow. As if bright yellow won’t make you feel happy and energised.

  1. Put the phone down.

Try using it as a phone ONLY. No emails, no social media, get someone else to take photos. Don’t even check the weather. Statistically Americans adults look at their phone 52 times per day. Every 10 – 15 minutes so it’s no wonder we can find ourselves a little wound up. Put the phone down.

If you do switch off properly, you’ll come back more creative and productive. I did, and in order to maintain being a creative, productive human, I’m looking forward to a Northern Beaches mini break this loooong weekend. So if you missed out – take the Australia Day long weekend and switch off. Properly. As a leader you owe it to yourself and those relying on you to be healthy and productive.

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