The Federal Coach: Take a Break! To Disconnect or Not to Disconnect on Vacation.

As he headed off on vacation to Martha’s Vineyard with his family last week, President Obama was criticized by political opponents and pundits for taking time off with the economy in such precarious shape and so many people on the unemployment line.

While we may want our leaders – we may even want ourselves – to power through and resolve pressing problems as soon as possible, leaders at all levels need a chance to take time away, recharge and come back with fresh energy and perhaps a fresh perspective.

It may be even more important to take a break during the most difficult and stressful times. You can look to scholarly publications to find the latest research on the effects of fatigue on decision-making. In practice, you only really need to consider whether you’ve made your best choices when exhausted.

I’m preparing for my own break shortly – paternity leave. Because caring for a screaming infant may sound more like torture than a break, I’ve been looking for strategies on how to disconnect as much as possible from work. I’ve organized those lessons into a few key questions leaders should answer to make the most of their breaks, whether it’s for a couple of days or a few weeks.

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Terrence (Terry) Hill

I think that a lot of us, besides the President, like to keep connected even while on vacation or paternity leave. The way we avoid stress is to keep plugged in on our schedule. This prevents a lot of distress upon returning from leave. In fact, I have to say that I feel discouraged by others who choose to completely disengage whille away from the office. Even though none of us are indispensable, it’s comforting to be able to reach others when I need them. I know, I’m being selfish and inconsiderate, but it’s how I would expect others to treat me.