Recently I started to have issues with my Mac.
It wasn’t a sudden drop in performance, more of a steady decline. Things taking longer to load, the quality of zoom calls being poor and everything generally running more slowly.
I was just doing what I’d always done.
Every time I finished using it I closed the lid. Then when I needed it again I opened it up. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve shut it down properly.
And it never seemed to be a problem.
But when these issues started to become a real pain I contacted Apple and one of the first things they asked me to do was shut it down and start it back up. I thought here we go again, the same generic advice they always give you.
Anyway, I did and sure enough the quality of zoom calls improved immediately, as did everything else.
They reminded me that my Mac still needs to be shut down, it’s not meant to be on standby all the time.
We roll our eyes when we have a problem and they tell us to do that for our router at home or for sky, but how often does it work. You google how to fix an issue on your phone and often the advice is to turn it off properly and turn it back on.
Working on that basis, when was the last time you switched off ‘properly’.
By properly, I mean not still checking emails. Not receiving texts from colleagues. Not still thinking about the presentation that didn’t go as well as it could have.
And by not switching off properly, are you therefore on ‘standby’ all the time?
Switching off properly isn’t easy, and it’s become more and more difficult.
It requires a hell of a lot of prep beforehand, briefing clients and colleagues to ensure everything is covered whilst you’re off. Making sure everyone knows you’ll be switching off fully and won’t be contactable or shouldn’t be contacted. Then being disciplined enough to not keep checking emails and message feeds.
It is often easier to skip all this and just keep working despite supposedly being off work. You might think this is fine. It’s less stressful and you can cope working this way.
But what about if – like my Mac – it is slowly resulting in a decline in your performance.
Maybe you’re missing things you wouldn’t normally. Tasks are taking longer than they should. Perhaps you’re more short with colleagues or your children. Your sleep starts to become an issues, you frequently wake in the night with work on your mind.
These are all signs you need a break.
And not just a break where you get a flight somewhere, put on your flip flops but continue to work.
A proper break.
A full – switch off at the wall – shut down.
There’s a good chance it’ll resolve a lot of the issues that may have been creeping into your own performance.