OpEd: As Summer Approaches, How Will You Make Time to Enjoy it?

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CEOs and executives often find themselves immersed in a whirlwind of meetings, decision-making, and strategic planning. Especially in growth-oriented companies, years can go by without truly taking time off. It’s easy for these leaders to overlook the importance of stepping out of the daily grind. It has been proven time and time again that downtime should not be optional but mandatory for good health.

Think of a battery.  Fully charged it provides the power necessary, but it eventually runs dry.  The human mind and body are no different. The more immersed in the many stressful decisions that keep organizations healthy and growing, the greater the detriment can be on a leader’s personal well-being.  Everyone needs pause to catch their breath.

Dreams of lounging on a tropical beach or exploring exotic foreign lands often remain just that—dreams—for those who are highly driven. “Next year, next month, or even next week” become roadblocks. This “not just now” mindset can wreak havoc on family relationships, friendships, and personal health if their importance is not acknowledged and addressed. It’s neither surprising nor pretty that when work becomes the ultimate priority, burnout and a decline in positive performance are likely outcomes.

Leaders know this inherently. Yet need to be reminded and prompted to help themselves.  

And here is the “WHY:”

Getting out of the fire makes it easier to see the flames. Time and distance can often provide clarity.  Reflection happens automatically when you are submitting to idle or recuperative activity.

“Work-Life Balance” seems a bit cliched, but it is a serious consideration. On the leadership level, it communicates to employees that management encourages periodic breathers from day-to-day responsibilities.  As role models for employees, executives play a crucial role in shaping company culture. By prioritizing their own well-being and taking time off, leaders send a clear message that work-life balance is important and achievable. Healthy and rested organizations far outperform others.

In today’s hyper-connected world, the line between work and personal life has become increasingly blurred. Without clear boundaries, it’s all too easy for management to succumb to the pressure to be constantly available and responsive. Turning off all devices at a set time each day draws the line on availability. Done properly, dinner with the family becomes a reality. Think of the possibilities if you block days for “out of office.”


Greg Demetriou is the CEO of Lorraine Gregory Communications.