The holidays are meant to be a time of rest and relaxation combined with quality time with family and friends. For many entrepreneurs, myself included, it’s extremely difficult to take a vacation and detach yourself completely from work, even for just a few days. It may be difficult, but it is necessary and I think the holiday season is a perfect time to do so. All businesses and brands are off for at least a few days this time of year, you should take advantage of that and attempt to unplug.
- Delegate (Even to Machines)
In my entrepreneurial career thus far, I haven’t really used an out of office message, because well, I’m never technically out of the office. That is going to change this holiday season. I’ve seen others use them and realized it’s a valuable tool I should be taking advantage of. The beauty of an out of office or automatic message is that you can craft it to say what you want, which doesn’t necessarily have to consist of “I’m out of the office”. You could even say something to the affect of that you’ll be checking emails less frequently over the holiday season, so give people a heads up as to how long they can expect a response. The simple task of creating one of these messages can relieve the pressure to constantly be checking your inbox.
- Schedule, Schedule Schedule
I’m always a fan of making sure you schedule at least some content, and think this is even more important when you are trying to unplug. Schedule your holiday posts, and also schedule your online time. If you absolutely have to check emails at some point, schedule a time to do so every few days and don’t cheat! Schedule a half hour or so (mornings are best) every few days to check email and do anything work related. If you schedule this. there is no point in stressing about it in the here and now. Enjoy your holday time, the emails will still be in your inbox.
- Books Over Social Media
One of the main reasons I think it’s so hard for us entrepreneurs to disconnect is because our brains never do. Our minds are always running a mile a minute with new ideas, projects, etc. This makes unplugging from social media, Mashable, the news etc even more difficult for us. My suggestion? Instead of using social media or online content to be your source of information over the holidays, pick up a business book instead. Just because you’re taking a break from the online world, doesn’t mean you have to stop learning and thinking. Chances are that without the distraction of social media you’ll be able to focus more on what you’re reading.
- Get Out of Town
For a lot of entrepreneurs our home and office are one in the same. When I’m home, it’s hard for me to stop thinking about work because my office space is right in front of me at all times. Ever heard of “out of sight, out of mind”? Well, it works. You wouldn’t believe how much it helps to remove yourself physically from your work space. I spent a few days at my grandparent’s farm and the nature, stillness (and lack of signal probably) all really helped me forget about everything else for a few days. I came back feeling refreshed and even more ready to tackle my to do list.
- Creativity Requires Quietness
Have a work issue that you haven’t been quite able to figure out? Need a creative solution to a client problem? When we’re connected, the constant flow of new information can be overwhelming and doesn’t give our minds a chance to think creatively. When you take away all the outside information and clutter, your brain has a chance to focus and think critical. Take some time to yourself this holiday season, to just simply think. Let your mind wander to wherever it wants to go, you’ll be surprised at what you come up with.
As entrepreneurs, it can be hard to understand the necessity of taking time to unplug. The whole reason we have our own businesses is because we found ourselves constantly obssessing over something, isn’t it? Even if you aren’t entirely convinced that you need it just yet, take the time to unplug this holiday season. A lot of times we convince ourselves that we are just fine, to only realize once we take the time to unwind how desperately we needed it.
How do you unplug? Do you find the holidays a prime time to do so? I’d love to hear your thoughts!