Set Boundaries During Downtime

Do you work during vacations and weekends or do you completely disconnect? Find the right balance.

by Laurie J. Maddalena

I just returned from a nice vacation with my family in the beautiful southern state of North Carolina. I love vacations not only for the family time and relaxation, but also because it gives me the reflection and planning time I need for my business.

Two days into our vacation, my husband said that every time he looked over at me, I was on my phone or my iPad. I wasn’t really enjoying my time away because I was too preoccupied. I know many experts say you should completely disconnect when you’re on vacation, but I find that unrealistic. I would feel stressed the entire vacation if I didn’t fit in some work. However, after my husband’s comment, I knew I needed to set some boundaries.

I decided I would only work during the two hours when the kids were (hopefully) napping. The rest of the time I would be completely present with my family and really enjoy our time together. I already have some of these boundaries set up back home, and they’ve worked really well to ensure I’m not overdoing it at work. For example, I don’t work or check emails after 8 p.m. on weekdays, and at all on Sundays.

One practice I started implementing this month is to reserve two work days per month with no appointments or meetings. These two days will be my time for planning and thinking. Rather than overload my schedule, I will make it a priority to have some downtime to generate ideas.

As you progress through your career and take on more responsibilities or move up the ladder in your credit union, it will always be important to set boundaries. Taking care of yourself physically and mentally will help you to sustain the energy and drive to have the creative and mental resources to work at your peak. It may be difficult to disconnect when you have a lot on your plate, but that downtime will replenish your reserves.

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