Think about it, you are accessible at every waking hour.
But today’s professional, in a sense, likes it that way. As much as we complain about the endless phone calls, stream of emails and social media posts, we thrive off of it.
We’ve wired to stay connected and even praise work-obsession as the only path to success. Don’t get me wrong; it’s okay to work hard. I encourage it. However, every show needs an intermission and a break can sometimes lead to your greatest performance.
So how do we unplug? It’s something I have yet to master, but I implement a few things that help:
1. Time Travel
Yes, in theory, I time travel. Leave reality and your cares behind and venture to a new time and space. In other words, take a vacation. Seems easy enough, but as someone who likes to be connected, I can tell you that my cares usually follow me.
My trick to disconnecting on holiday: I travel somewhere that has at least a 5-hour time difference from my main offices. That way my cares can wait a bit. Since my team is in another time zone, I can enjoy my morning while they’re still asleep or relax in the afternoon while they’re just heading into the office. It may seem trivial, but any time I spend unplugged is valuable time.
2. Shift Gears
How many times have you been enjoying a nice drive and an idea pops into your head? Or you’re in the shower and you finally remember that thing you’d forgotten about. It’s because our brains aren’t wired to stay continuously focused on a task. Shifting gears can lead to your best work and give your mind time to rest. Try to do something that breaks from your routine. Something like starting a ‘no email day’ once a week–whether it’s just for yourself or a practice to implement company wide–can help you shift your attention.
The only way I can truly disconnect is trusting that business can go on without me. I love being involved–it’s what drives me–but part of running an effective and efficient business is mastering delegation. It’s not about passing on duties that you can’t get to, it’s about recognizing others’ strengths and letting the experts handle it. That means taking time each day to evaluate what’s on the table and who the best person is for the job.
My advice for today’s connected businessperson: time travel once in a while, shift gears more often and delegate daily. So maybe it’s time I take my own advice. I have a plane to catch.
This piece was republished with permission from Adam Stewart, deputy chairman and CEO at Sandals Resorts International, The ATL Group & Island Routes Caribbean Adventures. It was originally posted on Stewart's LinkedIn page, at this link.
Born in the same year that his father, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart purchased his first hotel and launched the Sandals Resorts chain, Adam Stewart was raised in Jamaica and graduated from Florida International University’s acclaimed Hospitality Management Program in Miami, FL, before undertaking a fast track immersion through the Caribbean empire which today comprises 24 resort properties across three brands and nine islands.