In comparison to other parts of the world, the United States is notoriously bad about not taking vacation time. Our culture is so driven by productivity that it’s as if we feel guilty about taking time off. However, vacationing is a very healthy thing to do, especially within a culture that drives so hard for results. We work very hard and it’s important for us to recoup.
Why We Don’t Take Time Off
There is a myth out there which says that working harder and longer is the key to being a success. However, it’s better to work smarter that it is to work harder. So, think of time off as a smart way to help you be at your best when you return to work. Stressed people don’t handle stress well. Refreshed and relaxed people have a much easier go at managing stressful situations.
Another reason why we don’t take time off is because we feel that we’ll get behind. However, though this is a reality, there are some good methods for overcoming that.
When preparing to take time off:
Thing ahead – Identify areas where the ball might be dropped when you leave and delegate tasks that you know others can accomplish without you. If there are a few things that you cannot delegate, work late a few nights before you leave if you have to. It’s better to have a few long days before you go than to have to deal with issues while you’re trying to relax and refresh. If you’re still working on vacation then you’re not really relaxing.
Plan a Catch-Up Day – On your first day or two back from vacation, do your best not to schedule meetings, meet with clients, etc. Use this time to process through everything that you missed and make sure that you’re on track with your responsibilities. THEN, once you’re up to speed, schedule out the rest of your week in terms of meetings and personal contacts.