This month, I'm taking the unprecedented action of reprinting a timely article from a past issue. It's August, and - yes! - I'm going on vacation! I'll be back with a new piece next month; in the meantime, all the other items in the newsletter this month are brand, spanking new!
Give Me (Another) Break
Survey after survey shows that people today are giving short shrift to the time-honored tradition of summer vacation, choosing instead to forfeit their hard-earned paid vacation days. For a few, it's due to an overactive ego - they really think the company can't
manage without them. For some, it's the fear that others will get a jump on them in a hypercompetitive workplace. But for most, it's the belief that taking time away from work will only dig them farther into the hole they can never seem to get out of - buried beneath piles of papers and inboxes stuffed with unread emails.
You would think that we self-employed folks would be immune to this craziness - but
alas, we are not. So the realization was slow in dawning on me this summer: I haven't taken a real vacation from work in four years! Somehow, though, my "innate mind" was telling me I needed a break, and without really making a conscious choice, I had slowed way down as the temperatures rose. By the Fourth of July, I had to declare it: it's summer, and dammit, I'm on vacation.
Well, sort of. I'm taking time in the cool early mornings to work in my garden, and going down to the beach with my dog in the sultry late afternoons (she swims and digs while I chat with neighbors.) There are long evenings on a neighbor's front porch and Wednesday nights down on the dock watching the sailboat races. I'm doing what we all used to do before air-conditioning: slowing down for the summer. The funny thing is,
when I do that, work doesn't feel like "work," probably because I have given myself permission to take it easy.
I'm still working, but I'm being much more selective in what I do and how I do it - my work and all the activities that comprise running even a small professional practice. Sure, I can still do everything I want to - I just don't have to do it all at the same time. And if I don't get around to everything.oh well. September will be here soon
enough. What I have lost is the anxiety and the busyness. What I have gained is a renewal of my noticing powers and my reflective capacities. As the commercial says, "priceless."
I realize this is hard to do in an organizational setting, but then again, remember when Fridays in summer were short workdays so everyone could leave early for the beach? Or when there was a regular executive golf day once a week? Even today, if
you want to get something done on a Wednesday afternoon in summer in my town, you can forget it - everyone's rounding up crew for the Wednesday night sailing races. And why are there all those well-publicized lists for "summer reading" if nobody's doing any reading anymore? I suspect there are more than a few closet "summer slackers" out there still.
I think we can go back to a simpler time, but only if we choose what we attend to - or
don't. So instead of packing my bags and heading for a far-off vacation destination, I'll be taking my vacation right here at home this summer. I invite you to try it yourself - slow down, take a break, and enjoy the pleasures of your own garden, whatever may grow in it.
Coaching is a great way of giving yourself the gift of reflection and insight, commodities that are hard to come by in the midst of all that busyness. If you're tired of feeling
overwhelmed by deadlines or a punishing workload, let's talk about how coaching can work for you. Call (410)626-6008, or email email@example.com to explore your options.
A recent study reported in Science suggested that people are more satisfied with a big decision that their unconscious mind helped make.
To engage your unconscious mind, try making a list of the pros and cons for each option you're considering. Then, go to bed. Your unconscious mind will continue working on the problem while you sleep.
The combination of structured thinking with unconscious thought seems to produce a fresh perspective, and frequently, a better decision.
According to the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) and Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), there are now 1.9 billion+ mobile phones in use worldwide, more than the number of TVs and PCs combined. What's more, by the end of 2008, more than 600 million mobile phone users worldwide will have mobile internet access.
One third of all American internet users now have access to a broadband connection, a
50% increase from last year. In some countries, such as Canada and South Korea, 50% of all internet users enjoy broadband (source: Pew Internet).
Laptop owners will be able to instantly connect from an estimated 9,700 'hotspots' this year, increasing to nearly 118,000 wireless hot zones by 2006 (source: IDC).
Arguably a new medium, comprising the video content on the worldwide web - most of it user-generated. Media analysts expect the videonet to dramatically change the way traditional broadcasters and advertisers do business.
Someone who spends his or her day with the blinking glow of a Bluetooth headset plugged into one ear. (As reported by www.BuzzWhack.com)
The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success, by
Scott Eblin. What I like about it: The author - a colleague of mine on the faculty of the Georgetown University Leadership Coaching certificate program - argues that the transition to the executive level is the toughest one for most managers, because the skills that drive success at lower levels will not necessarily sustain it at the executive level. He presents the findings of his research in a very accessible "pick up this practice, let go of that one"
format that provides the reader with practical, actionable advice.
Executive Coach, Strategy Consultant
Principal, Bloomfield Associates
Share what you're into - books, articles, movies, music, websites - with others on the list! Send us the title and author or other pertinent information, along with a sentence or two on what you like about it, and if we use it in A Different Optic we'll not only quote you, we'll provide a link to you or your website.
"I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it."
-- Rita Mae Brown
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Gone sailing! See you in September.