By: Lynda McNutt Foster
Here are some things I’ve heard in the last year and that honestly, as a recovering workaholic, I could have easily said in the past as well:
I haven’t taken a vacation in over a year. It’s just been too busy for me to get away.
Every time I take a few days off I pay for it when I get back.
I check my emails while I’m on vacation. My family gets mad at me, but if I don’t, when I come back I have an avalanche of emails that is overwhelming.
I have to hit my numbers this year. I don’t have time to get away right now.
Americans leave 429 million unused paid vacation days a year! 40% of the senior managers, in a recent survey, said taking more time would make people more productive yet when they were asked if they were given unlimited vacation time would they take more, 72% said no!
56%, or more than half of Americans, have not taken a vacation in the last year.
30% of people surveyed said they were just too busy to take a vacation.
41% of Americans don’t take their paid time off.
It has been reported that the unused vacation time has hit a 40-year high which leaves many to conclude that we have a workaholic culture. That culture supports our addiction to the rewards of hard work and in many workplaces promotes the idea that getting rest is something “losers” do. People feel comfortable saying they are “stressed for success”.
25% of our workforce doesn’t receive paid vacation days.
46% of leaders stay connected during their time off.
The interesting thing about this is that you hear more than ever that people are trying to have a “balanced” life. It’s kind of like our weight issues. The more we talk about the issue the worse it seems to get.
Here are some causes researchers have found for not taking time off:
- Fear of returning to a mountain of work (40%)
- The belief that nobody else can do the job (35%)
- Inability to afford taking time off (33%)
- Fear of being seen as replaceable (22%)
- To show greater dedication to the company and the job (28%)
- Want to save time for family or medical emergencies (39%)
“…many important mental processes seem to require what we call downtime and other forms of rest during the day. Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life.” more
The key to having more time off is to schedule your year around it – don’t try to just fit it in “when you can”. Designing your time around what you want the most and what will be healthy for you is the golden ticket to actually getting it. Wishing it to be true isn’t going to get it for you.
In the next twelve months my husband, Allen, and I will take 7 weeks off for vacation. It’s scheduled. It’s booked. It’s happening. It’s taken a lifetime to get here, several bouts of burn out, and some hard lessons that I needed to learn about how to effectively pace myself for sustained success. The only thing I know for sure is that none of us can sprint indefinitely.
The people who love you most will love you even more when you relax, laugh, and create the opportunities to enjoy many moments of spontaneous joy. That rarely happens when you are staring at your phone while someone you care about wants to connect with you.
TEAM EXERCISE THIS WEEK:
Do a round at your next meeting and ask each team member this question:
What are the consequences to you, your family, and the outcomes you want to achieve if you do not schedule and take time away?
What time do you have scheduled off that you are certain will deeply refresh and rejuvenate you?