Unplugged: How a CEO turned off technology and rebooted

by | May 1, 2013

The greater the performance demand, the greater the need for recovery.

This is one of the core principles of The Energy Project.

In a blog for the Harvard Business Review, president and CEO of The Energy Project, Tony Schwartz, shared his story of facing burnout and how he managed to recharge his batteries.

tony schwartz

Due to series of taxing events, Schwartz felt his brain was on overload and knew he needed to recharge. Over the course of a relatively short space of time, he had hired a new team, been deeply involved in developing new products, travelled frequently and committed to several writing projects.

He decided to book 9 days away with his wife. To truly switch off, he didn’t bring along his laptop, iPad or mobile phone. His out-of-office reply informed people he would not be available on email.

On a normal plane trip, Schwartz would be devouring a collection of newspapers and magazines while juggling email and surfing the net. This time, he just took some books that were unrelated to his work.

An instant reaction to everything he read was to head to Google for more information. While this impulse was strong, Schwartz resisted and the feeling left him after a few days.

His discovered his experience on a break was more fulfilling without constant distractions, even if he introduced those distractions himself.

Schwartz’s tennis game also improved as he became fully dedicated to the sport, without many different things competing for attention in his mind at the same time.

At the end of his break, the president and CEO felt nourished and recharged.

Two habits he took from his break were to focus solely on work for the first few hours of the day without email and surfing the net, as well as dedicating half an hour of each day to reading a book not related to his business.

Read Schwartz’s story here.

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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