August 21, 2013

I Detached on Holiday. I Didn’t Unplug. You Should Too.

gig-harborI’ve recently returned from 3 1/2 weeks away with the three ‘goats’ and Denise where we enjoyed the fine Puget Sound sea air of Gig Harbor. Ever since I can remember, Denise and I take 3 weeks of holiday in the summer usually coinciding with the last week of July and first two weeks of August. We might venture to Europe or parts of Canada … but this was our first time in the USA for three weeks straight and with the three goats.

We nearly FedEx’d the goats to Siberia half way through the trip, but that’s another story for another day.

I also have something to confess. I lied.

Not about anything from above, but with my ‘out of office‘ message.

If you received one from me, I mentioned in it that I was on my annual ‘acoustic and unplugged‘ summer tour.

I wasn’t unplugged at all. In retrospect, it was a lie. A bit like Google’s 20% time.

But there is a difference I’d like to share with you. Whilst I lied and was totally plugged in with my iPad and Blackberry Z10 (yes, I really like it – give them a break for crying out loud) fluidly connected to the interwebs … I was fully and completely detached from work, from email and from any of my current deliverables.

I may not have unplugged but I detached.

And the team at TELUS — where I currently work — were just fine while I detached.

While I was plugged in overlooking the beautiful waters of Puget Sound, I was doing a lot (I mean a lot) of reading for book #2. I was doing some writing as well, and as you know, I like to write in Evernote so being plugged in was somewhat handy at times. I even played a few online games.

And yes, we had fun with the goats as well. Do you know how many crabs there are to catch in those waters?

But whenever they find me or I seek them out, the statistics of people working during a holiday sends me to the infirmary. For example:

  • A Pertino Survey found 47% of Americans say relaxing on vacation means knowing they’re never more than a few clicks away from the office
  • Harris Interactive found 61% of employees planned to work while on holiday in 2013 up from 52% in 2012 and 46% in 2011
  • Robert Half Management found 64% of Canadian CFO’s they polled check in with work while vacationing
  • And this Vacation / Work-Life Balance (not) infographic depicting Americans and their vacation plans will surely send you to the nearest watering hole

While Baratunde Thurston may have “Left The Internet For 25 Days” — providing some compelling reasons why to unplug in his Fast Company piece — I’m advocating a different philosophy. In fact, research proves email ‘vacations’ — or detachment as I refer to it — can decrease stress and increase concentration.

You should detach while on holiday … not unplug.

You simply need the discipline to not do ‘work’ work while being plugged in. You need to detach yourself from work.

Think you can do it? Think you can detach and remain plugged in?

2 Replies to “I Detached on Holiday. I Didn’t Unplug. You Should Too.”

  1. To understand the difference, and to ‘activate into it, will I think become more and more important as we evolve into our respective futures.

    I’ve gotten decently effective at doing so over the past few years, I think. Still learning, though.

Leave a Reply

Now Available!

Dan’s 4th book is now available. Click to order LEAD. CARE. WIN.

Buy Dan's Books
Listen to Dan's Podcast
Read Dan's Column On