So, I have a confession to make. I find it very difficult to switch off.
I can not testify as to whether or not this is something that everyone in the events industry deals with at one time or another, but I am sure that it could well be, given the pressures and type of commitment people within the industry dedicate to their trade.
No one does it for the hours, nor the pay, nor the guarantee that every client will be a gem – a delight to work with and screw loose free. With advanced technology of one kind or another, both our clients, and therefore we as event managers, are contactable 24 hours a day, and whilst there always has to be a line drawn after which a response can “wait until tomorrow” – deciding what that line is can be difficult to assess.
Then, when the opportunity arises to take a well-earned break, you have to work out just how long it will take you to wind down, enjoy a brief respite, before starting to think once again of returning to the madness.
So, how can we truly create a barrier, the balance between work and the rest of our lives, taking the break and really giving ourselves the chance to return to the madness and the pressure more rested than before we left?
I’m not sure that there is one specific answer to this, or one outright way to approach. There are people who are able to just switch off a computer at the end of an evening, prior to leaving work for a two-week break – and then, feeling they have covered all bases and that no details will be left open to question – their colleagues not left scratching their heads when queries are raised….go off and relax.
Is this simply confidence, or a mindset, or just something that is only able to occur this way at a certain level within the business and yet not at the highest levels of responsibility – or a bit of everything?
We can only look at who we are, how we deal with our workloads and management of expectation. In an ideal world this will not then interfere with whatever relaxation we have planned. For me, and during these past few very enjoyable days with my kids (and possibly in part to the still new nature of my current role) I felt I needed to be a little more glued to the blackberry than I may have otherwise needed to be. No one likes to go back on to work and face hundreds of emails – it doesn’t of course help if your hands are still slightly tied, and you then just have to count the hours until you have to face a certain challenging client once more.
I know this is not therefore a post with any definitive advise – other maybe than this.
If you feel that you are holding on a little to tightly, then you probably are.
If you have worked hard and earned the break you are about to take, then you deserve to enjoy every moment of it.
Are you questioning if your handover is good enough and covers all answers to questions anyone may get asked – then re read it and have someone review.
I would love to hear from you – how do you make that mental break, create distance, and stay in control of your own work life balance?