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Your job, career or business, can sometimes feel like a marathon or ever many back-to-back sprints, so it is important to take a rest.
So you want to take some downtime. It’s an entirely natural thing to need rest. As humans, in order to do some of our best work, manage our best projects and be our most creative selves. You have to take time away from that subject. Allowing time for your subconscious brain to analyze the process of the concept you are working on in a way our active, distracted, drained and tired brains cannot.
And that subject of concept for this conversation is ‘work.’
In North America, we’re still a little bit behind on the uptake of time off. It takes a lot for us to separate ourselves from the competitive nature and competitive ecosystem that business in North America has created.
But nonetheless, being able to separate yourself from work is one of the most important things you can do if you have high goals for your business or career. Burnout is real, and it comes fast without the proper maintenance. (even worse during the pandemic) No matter how many motivational memes you may read about fortune 500 figureheads working long hours with little time off. The grit of drive and success will wear you down. (not to mention those figureheads have teams of people looking after all of their well-being. Let’s not pretend the CEO of [Major Corp. Org .Co] doesn’t have a leg up on relaxation.) So the billions of the rest of us humans need meaningful breaks from our work. Having those breaks taken in a thoughtful and organized way will leave you recharged and excited to take on the next project.
There’s plenty of things you can do to separate yourself from work and give yourself that balance. For instance, taking a mindfulness class or retreat, practicing yoga in extended sessions, and maybe going on an extensive hike.
Unfortunately, COVID has launched us into a world where their vacation is a non-existent word for the time being. But one thing you will notice is the things I mentioned are all things that can be practiced without the use of technology.
Removing technology from your downtime is a great way to find clarity and a real sense of your humans purpose. It forces you to come to terms with the modern world and think independently of your smart devices. (activating the subconscious)
This may sound funny coming from somebody who lives and breathes technology and chooses a career that actively works towards more ways to be connected… However, I understand that to live and breathe technology, I still need to remain very human to know where I belong in today’s collaboration of real-life and digital life. The blending of the two will not stop unless you take active steps to recalibrate your non-digital self. This is important to achieve your goals. They need to remain clear, uncluttered by the cron jobs of life.
To be most effective, science has shown us throughout the years that when someone gets too over-cumbered by work, their work will begin to suffer. You probably know this first hand, even if you don’t want to admit it sometimes. You can wake up at 5:00 AM, and you can stay up till 9 at night and work every one of those hours in between, but that doesn’t mean you’re providing quality work. And you can do that for months on end, but the reality remains you need to take a break.
Even just reading that, to some of us. It is terrifying to have to try to plan around. What does it mean to be entirely disconnected? To a lot of us, that means more anxiety. I’m getting a little nervous myself just writing this.
So what can we do to reduce that anxiety? What can we do to eliminate the fear of losing productivity when you become unconnected? Well, the first thing is to change how we think about productivity. The time you’re taking unplugged will help you be more clear be more concise and be more ready to work when you become reconnected. Let us keep that as the main reason why we are doing this. And if it seems like too much, just remember. Once you have the plan in place. All you have to do execute. Let’s keep that as our motivation to plan.
The next part is forming that plan. And understanding what it is that needs to maintain its connection while you’re away, what business processes do you have in place that can handle you stepping away from the phone or the computer even if it’s only for a couple of days.
Forming that list of processes is your first step, don’t include your fires, just your day-to-day work.
We create a straightforward way by just doing this, of thinking about how your business or job runs.
And when you step away, this is the basic blueprint you need to cover.
As more and more businesses become consumed by digital technology, it’s essential to know that this technology can also be leveraged in creative ways to assume control over communications and processes while you’re gone.
I’m not talking about AI or any sort of fancy machine learning;
I’m just talking about setting up the technology you already have at your disposal to create tasks based on the alerts, notifications, and processes you have now that can continue to happen while you’re absent and getting the rest you need.
If you think I don’t have alerts, notifications or processes around this, that’s perfect! We can implement technology to do this. Technology, to be the concierge of your role while you are absent.
In a world where many aspects of our software are saas-driven, you will have tools from those products that allow you to customize your notification routes or follow-me routes so that you don’t have to simply do an email forwarder. That’s old school and leaves you wondering if the work is being looked at.
You don’t want to overwhelm who is receiving your emails, whether it’s a list or a single person. You want to have more direct control over each and every task that gets done while you’re away.
Think about this as if you’re setting up your Saas software in the same way as you are setting up do-not-disturb like you would on your phone system. However, if that product doesn’t have another methodology to notify other parties of the tasks that need to be done or has remedial monitoring tools. You can always create pseudo emails to manage your accounts and their access or specific mail filters with the help of an IT company like Portal or look at potential third-party tools that allow for interoperability with monitoring tools. There are lots of security-conscious ways we can look at managing your software while away.
We can help you organize your software touchpoints and internal processes with some digital stitching that allows you to have the flexibility you want while you’re away without creating an unorganized landslide of work for those who cover when you’re off.
Let’s face it, that’s another concern as business owners, or managers, or directors have to take on. Is who is managing my work while I’m gone? Frequently, we don’t necessarily feel comfortable abandoning that post which creates a snowball effect and eventually forces you to never actually take time off or the time away that you need. It doesn’t need to be a roadblock with some careful analysis of what software and technology you currently have in place and where we can help you take it to a place of total control.
Another way we can help is by building IT directly into your processes, having IT support your communications as a helpdesk. Whether it’s email chat, SMS, voice or video calls as a concierge service. This can significantly help how you’re able to mitigate and manage your business communications while you’re away. For example, a significant account just closed while you are away, and the AE needs help getting the client onboarding. A knowledgeable IT firm’s assistance can help guide them to the processes that need to be followed directly linked to your technology.
Additionally, having someone else monitoring your services while you’re away can provide Peace of Mind. We can set up alerts, set up notifications, and set up all kinds of routines to monitor the health of your business while you’re away. Relying on an IT partner who understands modern technology but also understands how technology fits into business processes can help you create an organized method for managing your software, your hardware, and your business technology while you’re away from it.
Even if you don’t want to fully unplug (and that is understandable). But would like to receive daily reports, weekly reports or monthly reports on the technical health of your business. That can be set up so you reliably know that you can close the laptop, put away your phone and truly enjoy your downtime while getting updated reports when you need them. To give you an overview of what’s been happening.
The reporting is simple. It’s designed to give you an overlook of what’s been happening at your business, you can track email accounts, you can follow outbound email accounts, you can track tickets, you can check support emails, you can track communications between department’s you can track anything that has a data point we can monitor.
Having this type of data while you’re away not only gives you an excellent overview of the action items and the things that are happening live with your business, but it also leaves you assured that business is continuing to function even if you’re taking some time to yourself.
Having a reliable IT team that understands how your systems work, with the ability to manage the technologies’ touchpoints on different ecosystems and different processes, can give you that certainty you need to unplug.
If you have any questions about this post or just want to talk about it, please connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram, or directly through Portal. We’re always happy to help you plan for some downtime, or perhaps what it would look like to have your IT managed properly, for you.