I recently returned from a two week vacation on the beach. While some may look forward to vacations with anticipation, I tend to see them as bittersweet. Taking vacations has always been difficult for me because thoughts of work piling up haunt me while I’m away. I also don’t like the idea of others doing work in my stead. I learned from reading this article that I was not unlike many Americans in this respect.
When I asked my boss permission to check up on things while I was away, he insisted I keep my mind off work and try to relax. Although I was concerned, my worries eventually dissipated and I could enjoy my vacation. I told myself that work would be fine without me and I could fix any problems once I came back.
I was shocked to see the 1,700 emails in my inbox when I came back, but I was able to approach the workload with renewed vigor after my vacation. The time off really helped me refresh and improved my work ethic. Often times we work ourselves too much, not aware of the toll it takes on our attitudes and productivity. According to a 2014 study, paid time off actually increases productivity. I can certainly attest to this after my recent vacation and now see that my boss was right.
If you’re not taking advantage of your time off, I strongly advise you reconsider. Understand that you’re essentially working for free when you work during your paid time off. I know it seems hard to put the work down and leave it for a week when you think about the consequences. We sometimes feel we cannot afford to take the vacation days we earn. In the long run, however, it’s better for our companies, bosses, and ourselves. So next time you’re in a position to take a paid vacation, take work off your mind and enjoy yourself.