Studies have shown that taking time off makes us better -professionally, physically and mentally.The problem is, while many of us are using paid time off, we are not using it to its fullest potential. To truly free ourselves from everyday pressures and reap the benefits of a holiday, try these three helpful tips:
Fib on your out-of-office message
Even if you plan to occasionally check in, tell people you will have limited email access and to expect a reply on, or shortly after, your return. You might also want to set up a schedule for yourself. For example, you can decide to check your email once midweek and once at the tail end of your vacation, allowing yourself to respond to urgent messages.
Designate a concealed place for your technology
Gain some freedom from your device by finding a designated space, like a hotel safe, to store it. Keep your mobile devices out of sight, so you aren’t as inclined to reach for them and set up a schedule for when you will check in.
Ask your direct reports for a recap
It can be a challenge -and a bit of a rude awakening -to return from vacation and try to get a handle on all you’ve missed. To combat the post-holiday blues, ask your direct reports to send you a briefing the day before your return with a bulleted list of the most important info gathered while you were gone.
Cope with Cell Phone Addiction
If you feel like you can’t part from your cell phone or have run up huge bills unexpectedly, don’t worry, there are some steps you can take to bring your relationship with your cell phone back down to earth.
1. Track your cell phone use. Yes, it’s a pain to do, but the more you keep track of the time you spend messaging or talking on your cellphone, the better you’ll be able to control it. Jot down in a notepad when you’re talking, messaging, or conducting other activities on the phone. Keep the journal for a week’s time, then review the amounts of time you’re spending on each activity.
2. Start the weaning. Now that you know you’re spending 10 hours a week on messaging, it’s time to start cutting back. Take it slow and start with the least important activity you use your phone for. Commit to reducing the time spent on that phone activity just 10% the first week. So if you’re spending 10 hours a week on messaging, aim for 9 hours the next week. That means being more conscious each time you’re using the phone for that activity, and trying to cut things short sooner rather than later.
3. Commit to being in the moment. One of the reasons people use their cell phones as much as they do is to be with another person in another place. That’s fine when we’re waiting in line at the post office, but less acceptable when your significant other or a friend is trying to have a conversation with you. Commit to turning the cell phone off, or at least putting it away out of sight, when engaged in a face-to-face conversation with another person. It’s not only helpful to your addiction, it’s far less rude and you may be surprised to learn you’ll regain these people’s respect.
4. You don’t need that kind of connection. So many people spend so much time on their cell phones because they believe it is a necessary part of their connections with others, or with their ability to be reached and respond instantly to any and all kinds of communications. For what purpose? If you need such hyperactive connectivity, that suggests something isn’t entirely healthy with some of those relationships, to begin with. Quality social, work and romantic relationships aren’t built on 180 character sarcastic notes constantly exchanged with one another. While it’s fun for a time, it’s not going to lead to a higher-quality relationship or a better, more enjoyable life.
6. Turn it off. Yes, that’s right. Turn it off. There’s nothing you need to do in the middle of the night that the cell phone will alert you to that won’t be there in the morning (unless you happen to be the President, then you might want to keep your cell phone handy). By turning it off and putting it away, you’re taking back conscious control of your life and this little piece of technology. Instead of it calling to you, you’re telling it, “Hey, I’ve had enough for one day. Seeya in the morning.” Set a deadline every evening for a time to retire the technology, and then don’t check or use it again until the next morning.
7. The technology works for us, not the other way around. If technology is taking control of your life — creating stress, anxiety, arguments with other people in your life, or financial hardships — then you have a backward relationship with technology. The technology works for us. If it’s not working for you, you’re chosen to be on the losing side of the relationship, and it’s time to put a stake in the ground and take responsibility and control for your use of the technology. Set aside specific times of the day or evening you will use your cell phone, for instance, rather than checking it every moment you get.
Cell phone addiction doesn’t have to ruin your life, your work, or your relationships with others. If these tips still don’t help, it might be a sign that cell phone addiction is more of an issue in your life than you realized. A psychotherapist who has experience in treating addictions can often help in such a case, and it is a treatment you should explore if you can’t reduce cell phone use on your own.