No internet, market data or electricity: a fund manager’s digital detox | Panda Anku

In the modern world, many of us would probably hardly be able to go a few hours without electricity, cell phones or Internet access.

But for Citywire+-rated Andrzej Pioch, who manages strategies within Legal & General Investment Management’s (LGIM) multi-index fund range, this process is the highlight of his weekly calendar.

Pioch escapes the fast-paced world of global markets with a 24-hour digital detox every weekend.

For the ultimate respite, which Pioch says helps him do his job better, he now spends a week a year on a remote Scottish island with no electricity or telecommunications of any kind.

Pioch tells Citywire selector The mantra “work hard and play hard” should be replaced with “work hard and rest hard”. “If I want to be 100% present at work, I really need to be 100% present when I’m not at work,” he said.

In order to give him effective downtime, Pioch has a weekly “technology shut-out”, during which he switches off all his devices on Fridays after work and only switches them on again on Saturday evening.

“This includes my phone, music, television and internet for 24 hours. I still leave my phone on for emergencies, but that never really happens. It really helps me reset and recharge,” he said.

“When you spend too much time at work, you feel like you’re getting more done. But I don’t think it’s sustainable in the long run. Eventually your enthusiasm will wane, your attention span will shorten, and you will become more bothered.

“They also think much more short-term, which is always a risk in our industry because short-termism is another expression of behavioral bias,” he added.

Mysterious Island

Pioch’s digital detox reached new heights in 2021 when he and his partner decided to take their dog and shut themselves off for a week by staying in a cabin on an undisclosed remote island in the Scottish Highlands.

“Everything is gas fired there, so you still have a gas-fired fridge and a gas light. You’re left with wood and coal, and you have to make your own fire every morning if you want hot water and heating. Last year I was there in September and you had to make the fire to stay warm.

“There are no shops, so you bring all the groceries you need for a week. It’s very different from the life we ​​live. But that’s the whole point of really having a completely different experience.’

In his free week, Pioch keeps himself busy with activities like hiking, reading, and even picking mushrooms. “The main advantages are that you don’t get too caught up in what’s right in front of you.

“By stepping out of your normal environment, you can gain a better perspective and be more strategic in your decisions, whether they’re personal or professional,” he said.

“This is especially true in our industry where things move very quickly and you may be too influenced to react too quickly to what is happening. When I come back I feel like my productivity is better and I can contribute more to what I do.

“The most interesting moment is when you are back on the mainland and turn on your phone. Suddenly, 300 notifications might come from your phone. It’s amazing that you can avoid 300 distractions in seven days.”

He said timing the digital detox week right is crucial, along with proper planning. “It’s a challenge because we follow the markets every day and then suddenly this stream of information is missing. It’s good to pick a week that will hopefully be quieter, but markets are unpredictable so anything can happen.

“In the back of your mind you always have a bit of this question of what could happen. But this is where planning comes in, to make sure you have people who will manage your funds well and take responsibility while you’re away.

“One week a year is realistically the maximum, but that’s enough if you do it right and you can switch off from day one. After seven days you will feel like it was a very different and transformative experience.”

could you do it

Now in the second year of his digital detox week, Pioch said he can now adapt more quickly to the changing environment and would encourage others to take on a similar challenge, even for a day.

“This year I found it easier to settle in. The sooner you settle in, the more you benefit from a free week. It is so important that we are all able to do something like this. We spend the remaining 51 weeks being inundated with so much data.

“Everyone thinks it’s quite an extreme thing, but we take it to the extreme because we’re so used to the amount of information and noise that surrounds us all the time. Ideally, shouldn’t we be able to spend some time in such a tranquil environment instead of being constantly bombarded with all sorts of stimuli of sounds, images and notification data?

“I’m a big advocate of it and I promote it to all my colleagues. You don’t have to dip all week, but I would challenge people to try Friday night into Saturday night as a test. Could they last 24 hours?’

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