23 May How to Take (and Enjoy) Your Vacation.
With summer almost here, many of you are probably planning and looking forward to your upcoming vacation. But then again, (too) many of you aren’t.
According to many reports and current studies, turns out that Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world. Impressive.
Americans are also the most overworked and overstressed of anyone in the world and boast some of the least healthiest ratings despite our access to state of the art medical care.
And it turns out that Americans take the least amount of vacation than anyone in the industrialized world. Connection?
We certainly think so and more and more studies point towards the critical importance that vacation and down time play in our physical health, our emotional well-being and our productivity.
Wait. Vacations Are GOOD for Productivity?
You bet! Studies prove that down time is necessary to restore physically and mentally. In fact, a study done by Ernst & Young, showed that for every 10 hours of vacation taken, yielded an 8% increase in productivity upon return. Think about that. That means a simple 10 day vacation could boost your productivity by 80%. That is nothing to sneeze at.
But the sad truth is that less people are taking their vacations despite reporting that they are more burnt out then ever. In fact, just this week, results from a survey put out by CareerBuilder.
The results are disturbing:
“Three in five workers, 61%, said they are burned out in their current job, and 31% report high or extremely high levels of stress at work. However, a third of all workers have not taken or do not plan to take a vacation this year.”
When we, at PBE ask people why they don’t take their vacations the answers range from things like “I don’t have time. or “I will have too much to do when I get back” and even “I am too stressed and just thinking about vacation stresses me out.”
Clearly, this is not sustainable. Nor healthy. Nor normal.
Not only is vacation possible, but it’s vital for everyone. You, your co-workers and believe it or not, your company.
So, instead of coming up with reasons why you can’t take vacation, let us help you with some easy guidelines to take that well-earned vacation.
5 Tips to Get The Most Out of Your Vacation
- Plan Ahead. This is key. We all know the stress of racing the clock to get everything done before leaving for vacation. And many of us sadly, don’t get everything done and work spills over into our vacation. (!) However if you plan your vacation ahead of time, you can calendar out your deadlines, prepare things to delegate to other members on your team and make sure that you have time to get everything done before going away.
- Set An Away Message (Boundaries). Setting very clear boundaries is essential to really getting away. This includes telling your co-workers that you will be unavailable and set that away message for anyone who is trying to reach you. Make sure to provide an alternate contact person in your absence and set the expectation for your return. (I.e., If you will not be checking e-mails at all (our recommendation) then say so!)
- Allow Yourself to Unplug & Recharge. It is tempting to keep an eye on your inbox to avoid that mountain of e-mails upon your return, but that alone can pull you out of the relaxation zone and get your work gears turning at full speed. And if you answer e-mails on your PTO, then you are giving a very clear signal that you are working while vacationing which is counterproductive to your quest to recharge. Instead, try taking a screen break (or at least an inbox break) and allow yourself to recharge. Don’t worry, it will all be waiting for you when you return.
- Try Something Different. Everyone vacations a bit differently. But it is so beneficial to your body, psyche and soul to do something new and totally different than your day to day experiences. Maybe that means traveling to a new place, going on an adventure, meeting new people, taking up a new sporting event. Whatever it is, lose yourself in the moment and give yourself new and exciting experiences!
- Lather. Rinse. Repeat. The good news is once you give yourself permission to take a vacation and really get a way, you will have proved that you can do it again! So, whatever your vacation allotment is for the year, plan in advance and make sure to block the time off on your calendar. Even if you are planning to enjoy a simple stay-cation. Just knowing that another vacation is coming up, helps keep your stress levels in check while working.
We’d love to hear about ways that you plan your vacations. If you successfully unplug, tell us how you do it!
Until the next time,
Vivienne & Andrew