Have you gone dark? #digitaldetox this holiday season

4 December 2018

With the Christmas period approaching and the impending ‘shutdown’ upon us; many leaders are grappling with the thought of letting go, winding down and ultimately checking out. At Change2020 we too are often enslaved to our digital technologies but are very supportive of #digitaldetox and the overwhelming health benefits that this provides leaders and employees. In a recent article published in “The Conversation” it is a growing trend that people are seeking “digital free” holiday destinations in remote areas to force their hand and put down devices.  So aside from a trip to a glacier on Alaska’s icy shores, with the knowledge of so many different mediums to use for contact-WhatsApp, Instagram and even Facebook- the question is “How does one embark on a “digital free” summer?

Here are 3 quick tips to help you go “dark” this festive season:

  1. Plan to Unplug

In our world of smartphones and WIFI, work can still find you, even in the middle of Christmas lunch with the in-laws. Modern connectivity is a double-edged sword: you’re always connected. It’s hard to break the habit of checking in regularly – who hasn’t quickly excused themselves to check their email during a Christmas cocktail party?

Tip #1- Have a plan in place to keep yourself offline. Maybe that means physically leaving your devices behind like Richard Branson does when he goes on his “inspiration vacations”.

Tip #2- Get a colleague to change your email and social media passwords and let the team know you are out of range this holiday. Let them know in advance that you won’t be available for the “emergency text”.

  1. Appoint a point person

According to a recent Forbes article, the only true way to disconnect is to “entrust a point person and empower your team.” From sole proprietors to serial entrepreneurs, business chiefs are cutting loose by planning, putting trusted people in charge, automating email and social media posts, traveling to distance time zones and essentially turning off electronic devices.

  1. Indulge your lust for learning  the ‘old school way’

In our continually changing world, one of the most important skills for a leader to have is the ability to adjust his or her thinking.  Whether it’s as deliberate as attending a class or program or more manual like intentionally reading about current events or topics in your field, give yourself the mind space and ability to expand your knowledge. The trick here is to be organised as you will not be ‘learning on line’ if you are to truly detox.

This festive season, don’t forget to give yourself something too. It may seem selfish, but in focusing on bettering yourself as a leader, you directly and positively impact your employees and your organisation–in fact, it may be the best gift you could give them too.

The best part of taking time away is the opportunity to break your daily habits and routines. When you’re attached to your devices, chipping away at the same problems every day, grinding out to-do lists, it’s hard to get in the mindset for real creative thinking.  We at Change2020 are hoping this Christmas you can embrace the holiday spirit, relax, detox and recharge for 2019.

Kerryn Fewster

Kerryn is the Founder and Director of Change 2020. She has consulted extensively in the area of Transition and Transformation. She places emphasis on strategy development and solution implementation to minimise people and operational impacts associated with major change.

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