We all know that feeling of superiority that hits you when you get an Out of Office email reply and you gloat over the fact that you ensure you are reachable, all the time. For better or worse, corporate culture in the 21st century dictates that due to smartphones and the wide penetration of 4G and wifi, you should and must be reachable at any time of day or night. There is no moment too sacred to have you ignore your phone for more than 2-3 pings. There are times we go in for massages only to start dreading the umpteen notifications we will encounter after those blessed 90 minutes. The same for holidays, some of us get so stressed by the thought of work piling up while we’re away and that we are never able to really switch off. Switching off and disconnecting from the world is almost a luxury these days, one that allows us to live like they did in the ‘good old days’, un-obsessed with capturing every sunset and mojito in perfectly filtered photography. What happened to just living in the moment? To enjoying the here and now? We hear there’s an app for that.
Switching off is incredibly important and holidays are the perfect time to do so. A holiday pulls you out of your everyday routine and gives you the freedom to do whatever you please, at whatever time. Sleeping in till noon? Sure! Drinking wine at lunch? Even better. While we spend tons of money on booking the perfectly timed direct flight, the centrally located yet still quaint boutique hotel and various activities, experiences and meals; working while doing these things almost makes it seem like money squandered. Ideally, you should be spending more time looking up at the sky (or the road in front of you) than down at your phone, a luxury we are not afforded amidst the 9 to 5 (who really works till only 5pm anymore?) grime. Here are a few tips on how you can switch off next time you’re OOO.
- Don’t get a local SIM card. By having 24/7 4G with a local SIM card, you will feel some urge to use all that data. It’s hard to let emails and messages pile up without at least a cursory glance. We suggest limiting your phone and laptop time to an hour or two a day, preferably in the comfort of your apartment or hotel room.
- Stop taking pictures. We have been programmed to capture every real-life moment into our phones to post at a later time (hello #TBT) or even instantly, thanks to Instastories and Snapchat. When you have a phone in one hand poised to click, that leaves you with one less hand to hold your kid’s hands, drink a beer or be pulled into a high-priced boutique by your partner.
- Allocate yourself time. Being on holiday can get stressful when you think about all the work you could be doing while instead, you’re sunbathing on the isle of Capri. In order to combat this inevitable stress, give yourself a few hours every day to focus on your work and not be disturbed. Pick a time that suits you based on your time zone, when you know others would have sent you the bulk of your work for that day.
- Don’t stress! Holidays are for enjoyment, not anxiety and panic. Look at the bigger picture and accept that by you missing a few emails today, no one is going to die (we hope) and nothing too terrible will befall the nation. Holidays are supposed to help you relax, rejuvenate and prepare yourself for the next few months before you’re able to jet off again!