en­forced down­time

The Smart Manager - - The Other Side Of The Desk Makhijani - Dr A B Govin­daraj is a dis­tin­guished or­tho­pe­dic and joint re­place­ment sur­geon with over thirty years of ex­pe­ri­ence. * https://www.the­hindu.com/ed­u­ca­tion/ca­reers/ sab­bat­i­cals-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/ ar­ti­cle20640178.ece

A study by the So­ci­ety of Hu­man Re­source Man­age­ment shows that 17 per­cent of the or­ga­ni­za­tions in the US al­low sab­bat­i­cals. This trend is catch­ing up in In­dia too as many US- and UK-based multi­na­tion­als oper­at­ing in In­dia have started of­fer­ing such pro­grammes to em­ploy­ees.*

Ku­mar looked in be­wil­der­ment when he was told that he had dam­aged his knee lig­a­ment and needed surgery and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, which could keep him off work for a few weeks. In his world of tight sched­ules and dead­lines, could he af­ford to fall sick?

Most, man­agers are driven by the myth that time is money and they need to be pro­duc­tive ev­ery minute. I would strongly ad­vise them to read How to Live on 24-Hours a Day by Arnold Ben­nett. They must re­al­ize that the num­ber of hours in a day is fi­nite and be­sides the eight hours each they de­vote to work and sleep, they need to op­ti­mize the rest mean­ing­fully—ef­fec­tive time man­age­ment is cru­cial.

It is es­sen­tial to re­al­ize that our body is not built to per­form for a life­time with­out down­time. ‘Can I work from home, doc?’ is an of­ten-asked ques­tion. This is be­cause it is not un­com­mon to see ap­prais­ers re­ward­ing those who take less med­i­cal leave. This mind­set has to change and gen­uine sick leave should be looked upon as a down­time op­por­tu­nity to re­ju­ve­nate one’s thought process rather than as poor per­for­mance. Con­sider it as a bless­ing in dis­guise and do some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent from the rou­tine—read a book or sim­ply catch up with fam­ily mem­bers.

When the face in the mir­ror re­sem­bles the photo em­bed­ded in your driv­ing li­cense, it is time to take a hol­i­day. In­dia tops the list as one of the most va­ca­tion-de­prived coun­tries in the world. Ku­mar’s pre­vi­ous an­nual va­ca­tion to Egypt was a tight sched­ule. After catch­ing an early morn­ing flight and ar­riv­ing at the des­ti­na­tion in the evening, there were enough events to en­gage him and the fam­ily. As a re­sult, he was ex­hausted and by the last day, he wanted to re­turn home. The typ­i­cal an­nual hol­i­days, which are meant for

When the face in the mir­ror re­sem­bles the photo em­bed­ded in your driv­ing li­cense, it is time to take a hol­i­day. In­dia tops the list as one of the most va­ca­tion­de­prived coun­tries in the world.

re­lax­ation, are filled with even more tense sched­ules—to visit max­i­mum tourist spots. It is bet­ter to ap­proach tour op­er­a­tors who can help plan a bal­anced sched­ule, mak­ing it a re­lax­ing va­ca­tions.

Some­times, get­ting laid off gives one the op­por­tu­nity to get out of the un­com­fort­able com­fort zone where one is un­happy and barely suc­cess­ful. A change in ca­reer di­rec­tion by fol­low­ing your pas­sion and mak­ing a big­ger con­tri­bu­tion to so­ci­ety makes a dif­fer­ence. You might also be much more suc­cess­ful and hap­pier if you had stayed in your pre­vi­ous job.

Cer­tain in­sti­tu­tions have sab­bat­i­cal cour­ses as a part of their cur­ricu­lum to en­cour­age lat­eral think­ing and in­fuse fresh ideas. If you are of­fered such a break, grab it. Steve Jobs toured the world for years, away from his rou­tine work, and the knowl­edge and the ex­pe­ri­ence he gained dur­ing the pe­riod helped him shape into a unique per­son, whose achieve­ments we all are ben­e­fit­ting from.

His­tory has shown that great men who had spent time in con­fine­ment for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons came back with even greater ideas and have been more suc­cess­ful. Be­ing away from the usual rou­tine is the best stress buster and helps one to come up with in­no­va­tive ideas.

Eight hours of sleep each day is an es­sen­tial and nat­u­ral way of giv­ing the hu­man body the much-needed down­time. It helps us get ready for the next full day of work. Sleep de­pri­va­tion and work­ing over­time can be quite harm­ful to the body. Less than six hours of sleep can cause se­ri­ous health is­sues. While naps do not nec­es­sar­ily make up for in­ad­e­quate or poor qual­ity night­time sleep, a 20-minute nap can help mit­i­gate tired­ness and im­prove mood, alert­ness, and per­for­mance. Renowned lead­ers like Win­ston Churchill and John F Kennedy are known to have val­ued a mid­day nap.

Ter­mi­nal ill­ness is an­other in­stance where people sud­denly re­al­ize they had not op­ti­mally used their down­time and that the sup­ply of time is cru­elly re­stricted. We must learn to in­vest time on our­selves, pur­su­ing things we cher­ish, even as we burn the mid­night oil. And yet when I suggest to my pa­tients that they ex­er­cise reg­u­larly for a few min­utes in a day to keep fit both phys­i­cally and men­tally, they say there is no time.

So, this New Year, re­solve to take a week­end break for a start, but with a caveat: No mo­bile phones, iPads, or any sort of dig­i­tal de­vice to ac­com­pany you. Just you and your dear ones—go ahead; give it a try. Maybe you will come out en­er­gized, stronger, and at peace with your­self.

Eight hours of sleep each day is an es­sen­tial and nat­u­ral way of giv­ing the hu­man body the much­needed down­time. It helps us get ready for the next full day of work.

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