"Engaged work offers important psychological benefits like social interaction, self-respect and continuous learning. But quiet quitters walk away from all that. Friendships with co-workers suffer, there's no more sense of accomplishment and their development slows down. There's a healthy alternative to quiet quitting called "unplugging".
Unplugging has all the benefits of quiet quitting, but without the negative side effects. It's a way for leaders to cope with stress, find balance and avoid burnout.
Unplugging means you set work aside and channel your mental energy in a healthier, more productive way. But it's not easy because you're a manager and the problems, decisions and deadlines never stop coming. And when it's time to set work aside, you have a choice. Are you going to accept or resist the reality of the moment? We call this momentary acceptance and it's a vital leadership skill.
Momentary acceptance allows you to set aside problems, decisions and deadlines. Now, by set aside, I don't mean ignore. It's a commitment you make to pause and pick up your mental energy when you can do your best work. Momentary acceptance is based on two psychological principles.
- First, one is this a lot of mental energy gets wasted on things that can't be changed or affected in that moment.
- Second principle: mental energy is a precious asset. It needs to be preserved and allocated in a healthy and sustainable fashion.
You start by setting boundaries. A boundary is a trigger that reminds you to set work aside. But boundaries take commitment and discipline because those boundaries are always going to be challenged.
Remember, managers that don't set boundaries never seem to unplug. They don't have the mid-day, end-of-day or weekend reminder to stop and smell the roses by unplugging.
So start by setting boundaries because your boundary is going to force that important choice. Are you going to accept or resist the reality of the moment? If you can't affect change in that moment, you're wasting mental energy. And that mental energy is better served elsewhere.
So, set boundaries and practice momentary acceptance. You're making the conscious decision to pause and pick up. You pause because you can't affect that decision, problem or deadline in that moment. And you're choosing to not waste your precious mental energy. You're choosing to redirect it in a healthier, more productive direction. And you're choosing to pick that problem, decision or deadline back up in the morning (or later that afternoon) when you're at your best.
If you don't set boundaries, if you don't preserve your precious mental energy, and if you don't channel that energy in a healthy, sustainable fashion, you're never going to be at your best. And your quiet quitters, your company and more importantly, your loved ones - need you at your best."
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