Time Management Experts Say Take Your Vacation

People have been asking me lately what is the best time management strategy as it relates to vacation?

They know the answer; they just want to hear it from a third party to help them do the right thing. They are reaching out for help because their guilt is telling them to stay and get some things done on their  to-do list, their fear is telling them they will loose their job, and their stress is telling them it will only make matters worse. All of these are real threats. And all rooted in scarcity. This is all BS. A Belief System that is. Belief Systems are like the stories we tell ourselves that either build us up for success or sabotage ourselves from the very success we are seeking. It is what we believe to be true. Spoiler alert! That doesn’t make it true.

Man sitting on a beach in his dress shirt and tie

As a productivity expert, not surprisingly, I advise people to take their vacation. Here is a reminder why.

Failing to take your vacation, has the same effect on your brain and your productivity as not sleeping at night. I read somewhere, every night we don’t sleep your IQ drops 10 points. We need the time to go on airplane mode and shut down the connection to work. This is an important part of the rejuvenation process of building back your energy.

Because of today’s technology and being available twenty-four-seven, we are no longer taking weekends and evenings to shut down and recharge. We are overstimulated and overstressed. That makes vacations even more important.

When you actually take your vacation you increase the chances that you get more done in less time. I know it doesn’t feel that way, but it is true. You even know it to be true, you just can’t bring yourself to get past the short term pain to get the long term gain.

What if it was like switching a machine and when you get back from vacation you are 2 x more effective. What if you are less stressed and more creative and innovative and you bring much better ideas to your organization (which could even get you promoted!). What if the work your performed was more accurate and as a result saved you and your team time? What if you were able to structure and organize yourself better before and after a vacation? What if you could communicate more effectively as a result of a vacation and avoid conflict that may take up 20% of your time. What if you just focused on the advantages of a vacation versus the challenges?

Employees NOT taking vacation directly adversely affects the bottom line. You and your employer need to recognize the benefits to the companies bottom line, here they are:

Absenteeism Increases:

Not taking vacation time causes provides no stress relief. More stress for some will lead to more sick days. The European Agency for Heath and Safety revealed that 225 million working days are lost to stress in the US. This is costing some large companies in access of $30 million. It is a significant number but possibly overlooked or the root cause not properly diagnosed. The number of employees calling in sick because of stress tripled from 1996 to 2000. The numbers are growing dramatically as stress continues to increase.

In 2015, career builder reported that 38% of employees called in sick even when they were not. Employees are forced to call in sick because they don’t get enough vacation or don’t feel they are able to take their vacation without consequence in their job.

The issue with stress getting the job done is represented in the 54% from the same career builder study that said they go into work sick because they felt the work wouldn’t get done otherwise and in fear of falling behind. For those that feel this way, if they don’t feel like they can take a sick day you can be sure they are not taking their vacation which further increases the stress levels causing mistakes and accidents at the workplace.

Mistakes Increase:

When employees fail to get the rest time they need, the number of mistakes increase. Mistakes can slow down the process, cause the work to be done again. What about a production recall, mistakes can cost a significant sum for the organization.

Accidents Increase:

Slips, trips, collisions, exposure to hazardous materials, machine interference are accidents waiting to happen. Stress put peoples brain into fight or flight mode. This may cause them to shortcut procedures or rules that lead to injury or worse death.

In addition to strict requirements to take vacation, training programs should be designed to teach people how to cope with stress, how to recognize the signs of stress and how to avoid accidents on the job.

Conflict Increases: It is said that managers spend more than 35% of their time in and around conflict. As stress increases, peoplesFamily walking on beach with setting sun ability to communicate effectively is compromised and conflicts increase. Workplace violence is on the rise.

As a result of all of these increases, the profits decrease.

I used to live in Zürich Switzerland, it is common in Europe for people to have 4 to 6 weeks vacation.

The population is less stressed, employees are more loyal to employers and they feel more balanced and happy with their jobs.

To prove this point, an internal study from Ernst & Young identified and 8 percent increase in performance for each additional 10 hours of vacation and were less likely to leave the firm.

No matter which side of the equation you are on- it is better to take vacation than it is to pay the price of not taking it. Heed the warning.

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Penny Zenker is a strategic business coach and trainer, boosting productivity for business leaders and entrepreneurs. She leverages her personal experiences of building up and later selling a multi-million dollar business, as a senior executive at one of the worlds largest market research companies and working with business leaders all over the world as a Tony Robbins Business Coach. Penny proven and practical approach help people to get results quickly.
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