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Vacation: The benefits of unplugging

The beach selfie: unplugging from work. - (Photo / Cathy Hirko)

Let’s talk about vacation, specifically, my vacation.

It’s timely because many of us are taking vacations at this time of year. We need to step away from the office. It will actually make you a more productive, refreshed employee — a better leader — once you return.

I admit, I have a hard time unplugging. I’m constantly checking my work emails, web stats or social media to see what’s going on in my industry. I work from home at night, on the weekends and in the early mornings when I need to. I’m not complaining, and I actually enjoy — mostly — the constant connection.

But I need a break.

I had my phone with me for most of my recent vacation in Florida. I would occasionally check my email and update social media or just scroll mindlessly on news sites or friends’ Facebook status updates. I didn’t need to have my phone in hand at all times, but I’m so used to it, that I just grabbed it and carried it with me, everywhere.

For the last part of my vacation I decided to leave the phone in the hotel room while I headed to the amusement parks with my family at Disney.

Best. Decision. Ever.

For three days I literally unplugged. It was wonderful. We rode silly rides, walked for miles, saw entertaining shows and basically just tooled around like the goofy tourists we were. 

There were long lines. It was hot. It was crowded. It was a blast.

Those same three days — and because my nose wasn’t in my cell phone — I noticed how many of us don’t unplug.  A familiar site repeated over and over was the group of friends, family, etc. who would sit through an entire meal without ever really talking to each other, their heads bowed to their phones.

Unplugging is healthy. I truly felt that I was able to relax and recharge. I came back to work well rested.

So, do yourself a favor. Leave the phone in the hotel room, or condo, and make real-life memories with your family this summer.

Unplug. You’ll be a better leader because of it.

Speaking of unplugging …

This topic reflects back to a conversation that I had with Jan Bergen in June.

The Lancaster General Health CEO tends to unplug when she’s spending time with her grandchildren and her cooking. She actually shared this Bolognese recipe with me.

Bergen is one of this month’s profiles. You can read about how the little things tie into big payoffs for her organization.

She joins a fantastic interview of Mary Katie Engle and story written by our web editor, Nicole Chynoweth. Engle, a makeup entrepreneur who now lives in Hanover,  will be providing her makeup services at the Politico Hub at the Democratic National Convention.

Reporter David O’Connor wrote a story on York native Debbie Rutter, who shares some great networking tips.

The newsletter also includes a Chynoweth interview of Lynn Holmgren of New Cumberland, who taps into her military background and international experience to help her a regional customer care arm for Comcast.

And rounding out this July issue is a story from reporter Michael Sadowski, on a new state loan program that can help small businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans.

Cathy Hirko
Cathy Hirko is Associate Publisher/Editorial Director for the Central Penn Business Journal and Lehigh Valley Business. Email her at chirko@bridgetowermedia.com.

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