June 16

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Learn to take a real break and disconnect from the working world

By Ralph Varcoe

June 16, 2020

productivity hacks

6.14   Holiday Properly

Productivity hack no.66 from '60 Ways to Hurray! by Ralph Varcoe.


A former colleague and friend of mine runs a busy marketing department in a very large global telecoms company. I used to sail with him a lot and we entered a few running races together. In fact, he’s to blame for my dodgy knees.

On one cold, grey and damp March day sailing on the Solent I’d been lamenting the fact that every holiday I’d taken in the past few years had been punctuated by work escalations. I was running a global organisation at the time and there was a lot going on.

He just looked at me and asked, “Why do you take your laptop with you?”

I stuttered and replied, “Because I need to.”

“Says who?’ he probed.

“I just need to.”

“That’s your choice then,” he concluded.

He was really clear with his team and his boss that when he was on holiday he was gone from the business. He made sure the right people were in place and empowered to make decisions in his absence. And no-one ever needed to escalate to him.

I learned a valuable lesson from him and decided from that day forward to adopt the same approach.

There are three benefits:

  1. I really get to recharge without worrying about office stuff
  2. My family gets 100% of me for the few precious weeks a year I can do this - and they deserve to be treated properly, just like I do
  3. My team understands how to take responsibility and accountability for things without always referring back to me

I urge you to look after yourself, your family, and team, and really go on holiday. You all deserve it, and you’ll end up being so much more productive once you get back. Your battery will be back to 100% full charge, rather than a rather tired 80%.

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Ralph Varcoe

About the author

For over 20 years, Ralph has run sales and marketing teams across large enterprises and smaller start-ups, at companies such as Orange, Tata Communications, Virgin Media, Spirit Ai and others. He brings a wealth of experience in personal and professional development with a laser focus on enabling people to achieve more than they thought possible. He's a published author and musician with a passion for creating - be that change, the right solution, exciting campaigns, the right environment for customers to succeed, or podcasts, videos and written content.

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