Well, the day has come. The buses are back on the streets. Those gargantuan new backpacks weigh heavy on the shoulders. That’s right—school is back in session, and those long, blissful days of uninterrupted inactivity have come to an end. (Although candidly, the students I know seemed to stay just as active all summer as they did during the school year.)
Over on the work side of things, we are also having our share of “what did you do on your vacation?” conversations—as we catch up on details of the dream trips that finally happened and stories of how families reconnected, along with lots of low-grade complaints about problems with the travel industry. (Maybe that’s why “travels” and “travails” sound so much alike.)
However, in these conversations there are always a few who have very little to say. And when pushed, they explain, “I was just too busy for a vacation this summer. Maybe next year.”
There are some good reasons why you might not have taken a vacation this summer—family schedules, economics, important commitments, unexpected circumstances. But “I was too busy” is not on that list. Busy people need good, solid, breaks for recreation, renewal, and rejuvenation. More work won’t do it.
Why do you need a vacation? Let me count the ways. Rest for body and soul. New vistas to explore. Time for family. Progress on your bucket list. Recharging your creativity. A chance to play a lot of golf. Or baseball. Books to read. Warding off burnout. Getting outdoors. New perspectives on your old situation. Binge watching the shows you missed last winter. A change of pace. Mind expanding. Catching up on your sleep. A reminder of what you love about your job because you miss it. Just do it.
I’ve recently read that Americans still don’t use up their vacation time each year in comparison with workers in other countries. In 2016, 54 percent of Americans ended the year with unused vacation time. Collectively that’s 662 million paid days off. That’s a lot of time that could have been used to recharge, regroup, energize, and refocus.
So, here’s my prescription for greater productivity and effectiveness: Take Your Time Off. Do it now. Schedule a fall vacation. Book a winter break. Use up those hours you’ve accumulated. It will be good for you. And when you get back, we want to hear all about it.