What Matters Most? Embracing Downtime for Success

Image Credit: Chaos to Clarity by Ceri Lamplugh commissioned by Pollinate Networks Inc.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann (German-born American painter, 1880-1966)

How do you fare at truly unplugging for summer vacation? We all know by now that restorative time is critical for happiness, health, creativity, success and the good things in life.

My batting average on this has been spotty in the past but it’s steadily gotten better as I apply what I now know works for me. Our Pollinate Networks partner Brady Wilson of Juice Inc. advocates that we take time to narrow down the field of important things (there are always many) to What Matters Most.

For me, creating space to truly unplug means doing some things that may sound obvious, but take some intentionality for me to accomplish effectively.

Some years, it’s been a hundred-yard dash to the finish. I was still processing tasks at midnight the night before my vacation, or letting them leak into the first day or two of my time off. I try to avoid this by creating blocks of time in advance and prioritizing my to-do list – time to brief others on what they need to do, time to do follow ups to give people a realistic sense of when post-vacation me will get back to them.

As ever, the devil is in the application, so here are some tricks to getting this right that we deploy in our Level Up! Goal Attainment Program:

First, remember that our cognitive biases can get in the way of our good planning.

Watch out for these ones:

  • Fantasy of focus – Do you think that “future you” will have more time than “current you”? Unless you are making drastic changes, probably not. (Think about it for a second; you know this to be true.)
  • Rosy retrospection – Given the time span between vacations, we often forget how crazy it got before and after, until it’s too late to avoid some craziness again this time. I’m not recommending you do a debrief on your vacation prep, but as a general principle consider the bumps you’ve experienced that are now water under the bridge.

Now go back to thinking about What Matters Most. Try to visualize the capacity you have (current you, not future you or “super you”) to get things done and fit those in first.

So unplug, enjoy that vacation and let’s connect again soon.




P.S. Contact us if you’d like details about joining other Pollinators for a series of personal effectiveness programs including Level Up! Attaining Your Goals in Hectic Times.


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