In this article I’ ll go through some strategic and practical hints and tips on how to create the best summer holiday. In my previous job as Business HR partner we use to create instructions for managers how to prepare themselves when leaving for holiday, mostly it was like a checklist, instructions included reminders on how to add a substitute for several applications and so on. Those are very important but in addition, I truly recommend using an hour to consider the following simple but effective tips.
Long-awaited holiday.. What is the purpose of your holiday?
So many people start their holiday without giving a proper thought for it. I often hear “My life is full of schedules, so I don’t want to make any plans.” But sometimes the real reason is that people are so exhausted that they don’t have enough energy to give a thought for the holiday they have been waiting for the whole year. For many, the only purpose of the holiday is to recover from all the hard work and overwhelm caused by their busy lives so they spend their holiday recovering to be able to start the same “madness” all over again. This is insane and definitely should not be the purpose of a holiday! Recovery should happen on a daily or weekly level and when it is time for a holiday, you should feel energetic and enthusiastic to experience variety and to be able to spend more time on different things that excites you, things that you don’t normally have enough time for.
So, if you are now in a situation where you just want to have a good rest, do it then wisely, make sure that you really focus truly on your recovery and well being. In addition, do yourself a favor and arrange some time to reflect your self-leadership skills, or take a training to make sure you’ ll lead yourself in a new way that ensures your recovery on a daily level so when it is time for the next summer holiday you’ll have different resources to make it the best one ever.
Last week before the holiday.. chaos or clarity?
I think you know the feeling before the holiday starts, quite often it’s like the world is ending and you try to finish all the possible tasks and projects, and clean up your inbox.. Why? There might be several reasons but quite often we are actually chasing for the feelings of accomplishments, control, clarity, and peacefulness just to mention a few. But who are you kidding? How many of those tasks are truly, honestly mandatory to get done before your holiday? We are often chasing these same feelings in our daily lives where we run from task to another and try to do things right, instead of doing the right things. I think many of you who read this are aware of the 20-80 rule, where 20% of what you do, actually provides the 80% of the results.
So, instead of trying to “clean your table” I recommend taking an hour where you pause and take a moment to reflect on what you have accomplished in the 1st half. List some of your top accomplishments, results where you succeeded. And if your brain says there aren’t any, don’t let yourself get off the hook so easily and work on remembering what you have done. In addition it’s also useful to review what important things didn’t get done and why? Here, on the other hand, you might find yourself making a long list, so question yourself whether those are the important things, the things that would have been the needle movers, the value adding ones that would have produced great results towards your most important goals? This exercise is very beneficial for your brain and your thinking ability because it’s important to make visible the progress you have made and also to analyze what prevented you, as you’ ll be more prepared if you face the same barrier again..
After reflecting on the 1 H, take a look at the second half of the year; what are the most important outcomes, results that you want to see on the 2 H. Visualize clearly the end results before your mind starts to wander around what you should do. After you clearly know the outcome you are after, you can start reviewing where you are now with these outcomes and what would be the major actions that would take you towards the outcome. It’s quite amazing how taking a moment of reviewing the past and looking for what’s ahead will change your state and you feel that you are in control, having the power and the sense of clarity that actually “cleans the table” = your head.
Before leaving the office, often the last thing to do is to type your out of office message.. please, don’t do it in a hurry. Take a moment to think and set limits to yourself and others on how you will be available during the holiday. Decide in advance if/when you will check your emails, and I mean decide precisely the date and let others know it, or add it to your out of office message. You could also instruct people to use URGENT in the topic line, if they want you to check the mail during your holiday. You might also agree with your manager or with vendors/clients/colleagues that if there is something that needs your attention, they will contact you by text message.
People fool themselves to think that it’s not causing any stress to check the emails once in a while when you are in relaxing surroundings. You might feel even a little bored which makes you open up your inbox, just to see what’s going on. But the truth is that it connects you automatically to those responsibilities, projects and tasks etc.. If you want to be smarter, more innovative and efficient, you need to value the power of disconnection. By really taking the distance, you will be able to see the projects etc. with new eyes from new perspectives and your brain has been rewired to create new solutions and ideas.. I have seen so many directors who seem to be addicted to staying connected, feeling afraid to really let go.. When actually letting go would be the only thing that they need.
What lights you up?
If you are still with me I want to congratulate you for taking care of your brain. People have lost their ability to concentrate and they rarely finish a book or an article they start to read. Unfortunately this lack of persistence, and addiction to stimulus creates unhealthy changes in our brain and occurs as problems in mental/brain health.. Anyway, you are exercising and making your brain stronger which tells me that you want to be the master of your life, which is why you really hold the keys for creating the best holiday ever. If we don’t lead our focus, someone else will, and you soon notice drifting from one activity to another just because you didn’t spend a minute or two to discover what you really want from this holiday? What are the things that lights you up, gives you energy and gets you excited and happy? And this doesn’t mean that the whole holiday should be scheduled, no, it just means that you choose your future, you review where you are now and where you want to be and then figure out how to fill that gap. This gives you quite quickly a view what would serve your needs best during this holiday? Is it recovery, strengthening your physics, learning better sleeping habits, or learning something new, maybe a new language, or how to surf, you name it.. Or maybe you feel like spending more time with your family, friends, husband or your wife. Maybe you want to do something for others, build the terrace for your parents or something else. I really enjoy the saying from Tony Robbins “The secret to living is giving”, which is why I want to challenge you to try and see what contributing and helping others can create in your life.
So, my message to you is that don’t waste your holiday drifting unconsciously, take a moment, see where you are now and what you truly need. If there’s a difficult conversation that you have been postponing, face it and do it, or if it’s the overweight you have been struggling with for years, take action and hire a personal trainer. Take action on what is important to you and you will be more energized than ever before. Take the real ownership of your life and create the holiday of your dreams! One journey, make it special,
When you pause, you see clearer.
Covid-19 did pause the whole world, and people were forced to spend more time with their family and/or with themselves. Suddenly there was more space for different thoughts and emotions to pop up. Quite often these ”new” thoughts and emotions are familiar to us but we have been able to hide them by running from one task to another, performing our lives and following the expectations, without questioning whose expectations those actually are? For some, this has been quite difficult time because they are not so willing to give the freedom for these thoughts and emotions to be exposed, to be heard and listened. It could be so that these emotions might not be the most pleasant, positive or joyful ones, and without having the capability, the tools on how to face them, they can create behavior which in the worst case scenario can be seen as family violence.
I believe that all the horrible behavior in the world is in the end due to anxiety of people who have not been able to express themselves as who they truly are and not been able to create and work on what they are sincerely passionate about. Some might argue that not everyone can do what they would really love to do? How could the society and the economy survive if everybody would start on making their dreams come true? But do we need the society to exist like it is now, really?
The robotics, automation and AI will replace many autonomous jobs within next few years and those people will loose their jobs, but is it a tragedy or a blessing?
Within my career I have witnessed over and over again how people burn out, loose their health, their ability to function due to these inner conflicts of not living the life that would match to their genuine desires and it seems that the final drop down comes from the suffering caused by the thought that they feel powerless to change how things are. It sounds crazy but people are more willing to risk their lives than take the true ownership, the CEO position, where they could set new direction, make the necessary changes and redesign their lives to match their conscious or unconscious blueprint.
My sincere wish is that we would not just settle and return back to the way things were, but we would really use this opportunity to explore ourselves, our ways of working, questioning the alternatives, playing with new ideas, and make them real. Sometimes it needs trial and error, but how could you now if you don’t even try? As my mentor who I follow, Tony Robbins says ”It’s not the conditions that shapes our lives most, it’s the decisions”. Make new decisions, but don't make them based on fear, redesign your habits, your life, to match better to what you truly want, and experience deep passion, joy and happiness that you deserve.
One journey, make it special.