#1 Reason: MAKE MORE MONEY
That's right! Taking time off and taking a break could lead to you making more money. A study from Project Time Off found that, in their survey of Americans who did and didn't use their vacation days ( which by the way over half of Americans don't use their PTO), people who don't take a break are 80% less likely to get a raise than someone that vacations.
#2 Reason: BECOME INDISPENSABLE AT WORK
So, what I'm telling you sounds crazy. If you leave work you'll be most wanted and needed at work! Here is why - sorta like that your girlfriend or boyfriend doesn't miss a good thing until it's gone - more focusing on your come back than your leaving - your team gets to see an even better, even more inspired, even more creative you when you return. This thought is super opposite of most people's thinking which is "hey, I can't leave because 'they need me' or 'work may build up on me." Again, they will miss you, but they will love the you that comes back way more than the burnt out "diminished returns" you that they would have held on to agonizing over paperwork and offering half thought out decisions because, let's face it, only half of you is left anyway - the other half of you was smart enough to check out!
#3 Reason: YOUR SELF WORTH JUMPS UP THROUGH THE ROOF
People that take breaks are people that have learned how to delegate, they are people that learned how to say "NO" with confidence so that they aren't the ones getting work piled up on them so that they can't feel like they can part. People who take breaks aren't amongst 55% of Americans that forfeit their Paid Time Off. These are people that understand that when you take time off you get better sleep, you're more creative, and you see ideas and plans more clearly. So these workers feel better about themselves. They don't derive their self worth from always being in the office. They derive their self worth from other more internal places.
Here are some tips to taking time off if you are amongst the 55% of Americans that are not taking vacations:
1) START SMALL- by joining my baby steps vacation pattern. We like to say "crawl, walk, run." In starting small in vacation I say PLAN to leave an hour early this Friday. I got you! For you planners I ask for your time to be plotted out first. And for you friends that believe that we are vacationing - you are wrong, we are simply leaving one hour early.
2) BE INTENTIONAL - by taking a lunch or an extra half hour at lunch and when you are off at lunch or on that extra early hour off on Friday's - don't check your email or your computer. Don't even think about work. Allow work to be there when you come back. If you check out completely you have a better success rate at enjoying yourself, growing your self efficacy and your self worth.
3) PLAN to PLAY - The workers that do this successfully actually look at their calendars as soon as they can and plot out a week or two that is their "vacation." (Do not touch, I will be out, you all better figure it out without me time.) They also pad in an extra day to use to get their mind back in work mode. You don't have to have that nifty location already plotted but you do get to plan in your mind that you will be out. This makes you work harder prior to the time off and also accept that the time off is real and must be planned for. My family recently ran into this. We are bosses and we think that the buck stops and starts with leadership in the organization.
If you lead with time off and personal time as an important growth tool then your employees will believe it. We planned out a Memorial Day weekend break months in advance for us and our three kids. Two days before the trip I was excited to know that I get time off to replenish and relax but I was a bit nervous because I had completely forgot to plan something. This meant budgeting, financing, shopping - all of that hadn't happened for our trip. So we decided to create a "staycation" atmosphere. This involved us packing up our tent and are canteens and hitting the woods. The biggest reason it felt like we had driven 10 hours away was because when we got out of our car to set up our tent, we kept our phones and problems at the office tucked away inside with the leather seats and air conditioning. We had a blast and our kids will forever remember the camping trip memory that we created. I'm better for it, my husband is better for it and I know our office is better by us being better.
Well, good luck making more money, being the one they need most, and feeling better about yourself all because you took a real break away from your busy work life. I promise you will have a happier and healthier life for it!
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