Sustainable Leadership: How to “Turn it Off” When You Leave the Office | Epiphany

Leaders have a very hard time turning things off. They struggle to stop thinking about important things at work. It’s no surprise that a lot of our clients confess that they can’t stop thinking about important work issues, even when they’re trying to enjoy time with their family.

Our clients aren’t alone. According to The Energy Project & HBR.org, 59% of workers are physically depleted, emotionally drained, mentally distracted, and lacking in meaning and purpose.

 

Even leaders need to be able to ‘turn it off’ at home

This is a huge issue. Most leaders can never stop thinking, worrying, and planning. It’s an epidemic that erodes their relationships and personal lives.

When a leader isn’t able to be present in their personal lives, everybody suffers. You don’t get the rest, enjoyment, and connections that you need to recharge, and neither do their family and friends.

 

One important tip to help you turn it off

One of the most effective ways to help turn it off is to give your work a temporary ending. Daily closure. In other words, bring your work to a state of completion.  If you are working on something and it’s time to wrap it for the day, ask yourself:

“What do I need to do in the next 5 minutes to reach a completion point for the day?”

Spend time to consider how to make the activity or idea “complete” for the day.  You will likely need to block off more time to continue the activity at a future point.  Consider your next steps. Consider who needs to be involved. Consider what else you need to set up to take the next step.  Block off time and tee up your next step so you can leave the item knowing that it is complete for the day and set up for the future.

Practice this habit at the end of each day too. Make it a habit to spend 10 minutes “completing” your day. Identify the takeaways from conversations and meetings throughout the day. Block time and actions in your calendar. As a next step, review your next day’s priorities so you are focused and prepared for what you need to do next so you can leave it for the next day.

 

You can’t be a good leader if you’re burned out

Taking time away from work, even if it’s just an evening bonding with your family, is a necessary and important part of a fulfilling life. When leaders can’t detach from their work, that almost always leads to burn out, personal crisis or lower performance.