It doesn’t matter what kind of a job you do; whether you work full-time or part-time, or even whether you run your own business or are employed in a company. If you are working, then you need to take a break. But therein lies the problem.
Do you believe that taking regular breaks will make you seem less serious about your job? Do you think that you will miss out on what’s happening at work? Or, and this is the biggest pain point, does the thought of the backlog that will be waiting to scare you from taking a well-deserved vacation?
The truth is that when you spend 1/3 of your life, about 90,000 waking hours, working, you need to take a break. All that accumulated leave that you are so proud of needs to be used up and not encashed at the end of the year. If you think that your manager will be pleased to have a workhorse on the team, think again. She probably knows that a vacation is actually a great way to increase productivity and creativity.
Don’t believe it just because we say so. Let’s look at the science behind why taking a vacation can help you get ahead at work.
#1 Daydreaming improves problem-solving skills and enhances creativity
What do you do when you’re on a vacation? No, we don’t mean spending hours on the phone or on the laptop checking emails.
Vacation time means lounging by the beach or the pool or just walking down narrow streets lined with trees. And as your feet wander, so does your mind. Away from the tunnel vision of daily work, wandering gives your subconscious mind a chance to take charge for once.
Daydreaming, it has been shown, uses the complex parts of your brain, those that are associated with problem solving. So when you give your mind a break from work, you can actually think clearer and find creative answers to problems that have been on your mind all along.
#2 Find happiness at work
It doesn’t take a genius to know that a happy person is a more productive person. Make that a happy and relaxed person. And going on vacation allows you to become just that.
The mere fact that you are on a break from work and the humdrum routine of office, raises your happiness levels. You are less stressed, more creative, healthier, more productive and, as a result, also likely to rise up faster in your profession.
Do something nice for yourself for a change; take that break.
#3 A vacation improves performance
Stepping away from work and office could undoubtedly make you better at work.
It gives you a change in perspective. You could meet someone interesting and suddenly view the world or your job from a new angle. A break gives you a chance to recharge your batteries – emotional, mental and physical. The renewed energy is infectious and your entire team’s performance can go up.
Travel can expand your mind and help you push boundaries that you never even knew existed. When you travel, especially to a new place, you will find yourself looking at things differently.
#4 Makes you a better business and thought leader
Besides improving your performance, a holiday can make you a better leader. The travel experience will open up the world to you in ways not possible within the confines of an office.
You could develop (or improve) your communication and teamwork skills. Travel will teach you about different cultures, a crucial asset for any business leader in this global economy.
When you visit a new place, when you step outside your comfort zone, you can reach levels of creativity that you never tapped before. Your decision making, time management and problem solving skills will be tested. Travel is a good teacher who can show you how to adapt to a new place and how to deal with stressful situations beyond your control.
And as a strong leader, polishing these skills could help you challenge the status quo and bring about a change, not just in yourself, but in the way you are perceived at work.
#5 Lose that stress to get the creative juices flowing
No one can be 100% creative, 100% of the time. Not 24 hours, all 7 days of the week.
If you find yourself getting stuck in a rut, the best thing to do is to take some time off. There are some people who take off for months every year just to recharge themselves, but that isn’t possible for the rest of us. However, even a short break can help get those creative juices flowing right away.
Convinced yet? Although it might be difficult to find the numbers that can substantiate the correlation between taking time off and increased productivity, we all know that we are not doing our best when we are exhausted, physically or mentally.
We’ve said this before, and we will say it again. Do something nice for yourself and your work today; take a vacation.