Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder (for Work)

I opened my inbox today to a message from our online backup provider. It seems they miss me. My laptop was turned off over the extended Independence Day weekend so it wasn’t backing up.  They were concerned.

I’m so glad to be missed!

I don’t say that because I feel unappreciated! Rather, traditionally it’s been rare for me to be offline that long. Whether on family vacations or extended trips when giving keynotes overseas, it’s pretty normal for me to have laptop in tow and to be online daily.

Which is a problem I’m working on.

There really is something to the phrase that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Time away–getting a break–can help us be so much more productive when we return. Tony Schwartz from The Energy Project is a clear voice on this topic, which we discussed in a two-part episode of our People and Projects Podcast (see http://bit.ly/TS-1  and http://bit.ly/TS-2).   Tony’s concept of pulsing has been enormously helpful for me and my coaching clients this last year.

For me, I’m working on not having to be shackled to my laptop as often as I have been in the past. For some of us, it might be taking a step away from the desk and take a lunch more often. To be more plugged in and focused, it might just mean we need to unplug more than we do.

I’m working on Tony’s suggestion to timebox activities to 90 minutes or less. I even use that concept in our workshops–making sure we never go more than 90 minutes without a break.

So with this in mind, here’s my challenge as we head into the second half of this year: Look for ways to step away. Look to do more pulsing instead of pushing. Then watch for how that time away pays off with more focused productivity.

P.S. For additional skills on managing your time and  productivity, check out our e-learning module entitled 5 Keys to Getting More Done with Less Stress.

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