By: M. Ann Gray
I recently returned from back-to-back travel. While fighting so many fires upon returning, I met with a friend for coffee. He was so excited to hear about the trips, then became so confused by the stressed out look on my face as I entered the room.
As a business owner, I wear many hats, and as a woman, I wear many pressures – as we all do. While trying to stick to my habit of staying positive and not complaining, I was explaining to him that I just am not myself lately.
As he sarcastically pointed out that it must have been so hard to frequent the nice beaches that I had just left, I just smiled.
He was right, I thought.
I just spent time with clients in Spain, Dominican Republic, and other great places in between. I love to travel and I absolutely love what I do for work. This year, I spent time on beautiful beaches and had beautiful moments.
So, why was I so bogged down?!
Yes, I have personal and family issues …but don’t we all? Sure, one of my companies gives me daily headaches, but how can I complain?
I was just so darn exhausted! Mentally, emotionally, and physically. I started doing yoga in the mornings and running in the evenings to release stress. I still could barely get out of bed in the mornings, feeling weighed down by everything I have to deal with lately.
I found the answer in the simplest message.
This same friend is a technical engineer at a large oil and gas company. He explained the extremely high volume of work orders he receives, demanding answers to technical issues. He confidently said 80 percent of the work orders are resolved with one simple question…
“Have you turned [it] off, and turned it back on?”
I just smiled. I knew where he was going with this. I’ve heard this before so many times from technical support representatives. He said it still surprises him how often this truly does resolve technical issues.
I had to agree that even though the travel and the beaches were perks, they had not allowed me to “unplug”. I also realized that the yoga and exercise, while helpful, is still an exertion of energy. I give so much of my energy, time, and focus to so many other things. The stress builds up and I just keep going. While I’m giving myself to so many things, I am not participating in activities that helps restore ME. I NEED TO UNPLUG, then plug in again so I can be recharged and run better, faster, more efficiently
This conversation made me think about how often I keep my laptop on with about 12 tabs open, consistently.
I want to shut it down at night since I know there are updates waiting and it will start running slowly after so many days with all of the tabs running. “But, the tabs will remind me where I left all of these different projects”, is what I tell myself. Leaving them running is just more convenient. Each day, I plan to close them at night. Then, days turn into a week. Sometimes longer.
Then at the most inconvenient time, the laptop just drags. It runs slower than ever before in life!
This is why I just smiled when he mentioned this simple statement. I need to just turn it off, then turn it back on.
“That’s easier said than done when so many things depend on you”, I argued. He replied, “Do they really depend on you?” He was right. The two clients I felt so guilty about, regarding delayed responses that day, were too busy anyway. Both clients, not only weree forgiving of the delay, but they said they were not ready to discuss the projects anyway. They needed a break also! That’s when I realized it was time to close all of these running tabs (in my head).
To some, this means shutting the cell phone off all day (be cautious – as this may result in a panic attack). The concept may not be a “one size fits all” solution, but it certainly has helped me to bounce back.
Turn it off and turn it back on.
Ann Gray is a is a business strategist and founder at Gray Strategy Consultants, Inc. Gray is also a Managing Partner at EWF International LLC. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org