Part 1 of a 3-part retrospective on my Japan trip

And it’s ok, I’m not going to mention the snow…well, not in this part!!

Funny how when you slow down, the things which you’ve known for a while tend to come to the surface again – given I had 2 close to weeks away from home, I got some time to be in the moment, and stop the cycle of overthinking the business and life in general.

Our sector has been suffering a staffing crisis for a long time and part of the reasons people leave is burn out; we’re exhausted by the constant demands placed on us from clients and the support that we get from our directors doesn’t always address the causes, rather it tries to fix the symptoms. The pressure we put on ourselves to be available to our clients is immense, and it’s also counter-productive. 

Firstly, we need to make time to wind down. There have been studies which show that it takes of a break of somewhere between 7 and 10 days for us to fully uncoil from the office, and to give ourselves the opportunity to fully relax – in my case it was night 7 when I finally got a really good solid sleep and wasn’t thinking so much about the PM Coach (it also probably helped that I was involved in a high-intensity physical activity each day) so if you’re going to take a break away from the office, make it at least a full week, (it’s actually possible to do this by knocking off on the Friday and not going back until the Monday week after as you get the benefit of 2 weekends), shorter breaks are fine, but you won’t unwind as your brain is always in “on” mode – that longer break will allow you to detach from work and focus on the being. Oh, and don’t take the laptop, switch on your out-of-office, emails can wait.

The benefit of this length of break is that we come back to the office mentally and physically refreshed and ready to get back into work mode, our thoughts are clearer and our energy levels are higher – we approach work with a greater enthusiasm and this shows through the way we complete various tasks and our interactions with everyone around us, clients especially. A guided method of self-service.

So my urging to all of you is plan and take longer breaks than just the odd long weekend, you’ll boost your physical and mental health, be more engaged with those around you (particularly the ones who matter most – your family) and you’ll also find work more enjoyable.