Every year the summer comes and I hear my friends chomping at the bit…oh how they want to get out and enjoy the sunshine! Well, the truth is, you are doing your business, your employer and yourself a massive favor if you take the time.
Here are Some Rules & Facts of Taking a Vacation:
1. Actually go on the Vacation
So 25% of you reading this right now didn’t take ONE vacation day last year…The first rule? Actually go.
Leave your desk, your business, and take the time. If you are self-employed…this means you too. More than half of Americans don’t take all of the vacation time they are given, and if you’re a younger worker (18-24), about 45% of you only get a week or less of vacation a year (with 36% saying that they feel “judged” when you take it). Maybe that’s why you see almost half of workers secretly admitting to using some sick days as vacation. Take a vacation, and don’t apologize for it.
2. When on “Vacation” don’t spend all of your time Working
This defeats the point. Listen, I know your business is important…but lifehack a little, plan it out, delegate if you can, and trust your colleagues & employees so that you get the time. Work is only one part of your life, be sure to nurture the others too – it builds a happy home life and makes memories that last a lifetime. Spend the time with family and those you love having fun, and reconnecting again.
Saying that, most people are constantly connected to their phones – both socially and in business (and that gray area in between). It seems that you are so connected that 59% of you were even checking your email during major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving! Telling you to turn it off cold turkey might be unrealistic – so cut it down severely and show your priorities to those around you. Make checking your work as brief and spare as possible and get back to enjoying your time…I promise, you can post photos to Facebook when you get home. Taking a break from email not only builds a better vacation and connection with your family, but reduces your stress level overall …particularly when it happens over multiple days.
3. Fact: You’ll be a Better Worker
Burnout kills productivity. It’s the thing that makes you stare at your computer an hour before doing any work, or play around on social media when you should be doing work. One of the best ways of preventing burnout is to give your life variety and breaks. In a 2010 study, workers are 35% more productive after a vacation and even report liking their job better.
4. Fact: Vacations Can Literally Save your Life
We never know how much time we’ve got in this world…and what is it all for if you cause yourself to die unnecessarily early. The string of facts are sobering and unending, but here are some highlights. Men who don’t take a yearly vacation are 35% more likely to die of a heart attack….for women, this jumps to nearly 50%. In fact, not taking a vacation makes women three times more likely to struggle with depression. It’s not surprising that America has no mandatory vacation laws compared to other industrialized nations, and we are the largest consumers of antidepressant medications. Of course, this isn’t the only factor contributing to our use of these medications…but it certainly isn’t helping.
Truth is, if you want to be more productive, better in business, and improve the health and quality of your life, taking your annual vacation isn’t shirking your business – it’s actually showing you’re more responsible about the person you bring to it. Perform better, be healthier and take that vacation you’ve wanted (and likely needed for a long time now).