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When is the last time you unplugged for a few days and took a real break from work?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 220,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.


When is the last time you unplugged for a few days and took a real break from work?
  • This week: 13.7% .
  • Within the past month. 26.6%
  • Within the past quarter. 18.1%
  • Within the past year. 15.5%
  • I can’t remember the last time. 26.1%


All work and no play… Stress and fatigue are cumulative. Continuing to work for protracted periods of time without a break will run you down. It also sends a strong signal to your team when you do, or do not, take time away from work. If they see you chained to your desk and never taking time off, they believe that’s the expectation whether you say it is or not. Building a resilient team requires you to manage stress and achieve balance both for you and for them. If you can’t remember the last time you took time away from work, you should hear alarm bells right now. You’re headed for a crash – it’s simply a matter of when it will occur. Set the example. Take some time away. Recharge and reengage.


Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”