As a CEO, the pressure to be digitally connected at all times can be overwhelming. The constant circle of emails, video calls and social media can get too much and be quite stressful. This can affect your performance as a leader, especially if you feel like you can’t take a minute to unwind from your digital devices.
There are many times when I choose to take a complete break from digital. For instance, I only take my phone with me on evening walks in case of emergencies and I make sure I’m not checking emails or social media during this time when I can take a breath and re-energise. I also often go on holidays where I don’t engage in digital devices so that I can take a proper break from the outside world.
There are many benefits that come from having a break from digital devices, and you may even find it helps you engage and perform better in your business and your overall career, not to mention the benefits it will have on your wellbeing.
Are you addicted to digital?
Over 60% of people admit to being addicted to the internet and their devices. So it’s worth asking the question, ‘Would I find it difficult to not take my phone with me on holidays, to grab a coffee, to go for a walk, to go to bed, to…?’
The constant need for new stimulation, endless access to information and social connection is changing our brains. It’s impacting our long-term memory as well as our mental wellbeing.
At times one wonders if our addiction to digital is making us lead lives that are a centimetre deep, and a kilometre wide.
There is nothing wrong with digital. But there are many valid reasons to step away from digital from time to time and also to question your use of digital and digital devices.
Many CEOs would find it difficult to admit that it can be tough to leave their device at their desk while heading to a meeting, or out to coffee with a colleague. A leadership role can make it even more difficult to unplug, especially when confronted with constant emails or a problem at the office while you’re away.
This need to be wired-in can distract from your capacity to make effective decisions. One eye on a screen means you not only struggle to focus on your colleagues, but you may also miss the small, key details that often offer tangible insights into the health of your business and the efficacy of your decision making.
Putting aside your devices can allow you to take account of those crucial specifics, such as the mood around the office or the insights of a colleague, and make more informed decisions that have critical results for your business.
Enhance your productivity
The average professional checks 40 websites a day, switching activities 37 times an hour, changing tasks every two minutes. The same can be said of any CEO: checking the headlines, a new email, or a pricing update can be difficult to resist when this information can have a significant impact on your business.
These constant task changes, however, are also influencing productivity.
How often are you confronted with a report that takes you hours to read rather than 15 minutes, or a reply that’s constantly pushed aside? By avoiding cognitive overload and disconnecting from digital, you can work more productively, and focus on the task at hand.
Recharge and unwind
The weight of an organisation on your shoulders creates stress, and the constant ability to stay in touch with your business, whether through text, call or email, can make it impossible to switch off.
This digital stimulation, however, can have a pronounced effect on your mental state, and affect your professional life as much as your personal one. Your temperament, problem-solving skills and energy are all influenced by your ability to recharge your batteries, disconnect from work, and maintain a healthy mental balance.
Taking time away from your devices can foster healthy habits about switching off, focusing on yourself, and help bring your best back to the table when you reengage professionally.
Ultimately, taking a break from digital can encourage you to reassess how you stay in touch with your CEO responsibilities, and allow you to recharge your batteries and restore the inspiration that fosters your business acumen. Consider putting aside your devices, at least temporarily, and take a holiday from digital.