January 31st in America is National Plan a Vacation Day, which may sound like another silly made-up holiday to most people. However, I would argue that this “holiday” is more important than you might think. Whether you want to admit it or not, we are a nation consisting of workaholics who are raised on the simple notion that work is your duty, so work hard every single day and do the very best that you can.
This advice is certainly important if you want to be successful in business, but working all the time and never taking time to recharge yourself can be extremely detrimental to your sustained success. Burnout is a very real problem and costs companies millions of dollars in lost productivity and turnover every year.
How do you reduce burnout and how can you sustain both your success and happiness for the long term? The answer is simple: vacation!
It’s somewhat ironic though – companies give us vacation time and encourage us to use it, but our natural drive for success sometimes prevents us from ever taking advantage of this. In fact, a recent article on projecttimeoff.com states that Americans wasted a record-setting 658 million vacation days in 2016.
This is not acceptable. Vacations are absolutely crucial for sustained success in sales, marketing, business, engineering, sports, medicine, and literally any other profession. Here is why:
Vacations help prevent job burnout
Working non-stop is actually counter-productive. The more you work, the more worn down you become. Eventually, you will be going through the motions and will not be operating at your full capacity. This is called burnout, and it’s a real big problem for both employees and employers.
Contrary to what you might think, your company wants you to take vacation to avoid burnout. According to an article in the Toronto Sun, “Lost productivity related to absenteeism, so-called presenteeism (when a worker is physically present but unproductive) and turnover cost Canadian companies $6.3 billion in 2011.”
$6.3 billion. That’s a staggering number that should make any CEO shudder. To avoid burnout, you need to take time away to relax and recharge your batteries. Vacations allow you to do that. Yes, your boss might give you a hard time for requesting off, but that’s nothing in comparison to you being unproductive at work.
Vacations give you a chance to pursue your hobbies
Being at work all day drains you, both physically and mentally. After working 10+ hours in a day, I personally do not want to come home and read a book, or play an instrument. I’d rather just sit there and not do anything. This can lead to depression and a feeling of emptiness. Everybody needs a hobby – taking time off of work is a great way to focus on some of these hobbies that you don’t have the time or energy for during your regular work week.
Vacations allow you to reward yourself
We work hard. Being in business, we have to put forth 110% effort all the time. Most times, all we are rewarded with is a “good job!” from your superior. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but sometimes, I want to actually see the fruits of my labor come to life in the form of personal rewards. While a paycheck is fantastic, it’s important to actually spoil yourself with something big. It’s extremely rewarding to lay on a beach somewhere and think to yourself “I did this…I earned it.”
This feeling will drive you to work hard and sustain your success in the long term so you can achieve that personal reward again. This is where success comes from – your internal drive to reward yourself over and over again.
Vacations allow you to create memorable experiences
Think back to Christmas Day when you were 12 years old. Do you remember what you received for gifts? Odds are, you have no idea. However, if you took a vacation that year with your family and did something different and extraordinary, you probably remember that. By creating these memorable experiences, you will gain a feeling of happiness and will see a renewed appreciation in life. This will translate to a better attitude at work, increasing productivity.
Vacations give you a chance to focus on the important things in life
If you are on this blog, work is important to you. It’s very important to me – but it’s not the most important thing in my life. I’ll tell you right now that time spent with family and friends is far more important. Yes, I love my job and feel very blessed that I have the opportunity to do what I do, but none of that matters if it means sacrificing relationships with those you love.
It’s a fact that we spend more time at work than with our loved ones. There really is no getting around that one. That’s exactly why it’s absolutely crucial to take vacations. Vacations allow you the time to reconnect with your loved ones and focus on the important things in life. Remember, without the support of your loved ones, sustained success is nearly impossible.
Hopefully, you realize that time away from the office is a good thing and should be taken advantage of! Today is Plan a Vacation Day, so take some time today to look ahead this year and plan some vacations! It doesn’t matter if you want to do a huge trip to Italy, or just lay around at home and play with your kids. Regardless of what you choose to do, it’s important to take the time and maximize those vacation days!
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