We’re all chomping at the bit to take a vacation, whether it’s a trip to the Riviera or a “stay-cation” at home. But sadly, vacations are turning into more of a rare luxury than ever before. There always seems to be a reason to put it off: an important deadline, for example, or a project that needs to get off the ground. After a while, the year is almost over and you end up either taking a hasty day off just to get it out of the way, or skipping the vacation entirely with a vague promise of taking one next year.
Sometimes, workaholics become so committed to the job that vacations are seen as a distraction, and not a benefit. This is a very harmful point of view, and should be corrected. If nothing else, you should think of a vacation as being good for your career’s well-being as well as your own.
1. Connect With Your Support Group
If you’re a workaholic, chances are you don’t have much of a social or family life outside of work. While some consider this the price for success, it’s not going to mean much when you find yourself retired and with no one with whom you can spend all that free time. Or God forbid you suffer the misfortune of losing your job or experiencing a personal tragedy and have no one to lean on. Family and friends are the flavor of life, and for the busy workaholic, you should take every opportunity to spend time with the people closest to you, for it is they who will help you through difficult times, not the job.
Besides, nobody ever said you couldn’t have a great career and a great family life.
2. Finish Minor Projects
Even if you’re not a workaholic, chances are you’ve got a minor project on the side that you’ve never found the time to finish. Maybe it’s building your kid a tree house. Or repainting the car. Or working on your dream entrepreneur venture. Taking a day off would give you time to, if not finish it, at least make significant headway.
And yes, you will be working on your vacation day, this is true. But sometimes a change of pace can be just as relaxing as doing nothing at all—maybe even more.
3. Let Your Mind Percolate
Studies have shown that taking your mind off a problem can be an effective way of coming up with a solution. Students learn better after a full night’s sleep. Distractions bring the problem down to the subconscious where it simmers and turns over. More often than not, this state eventually triggers a “eureka” moment.
Please note: I’m not encouraging you to take a vacation every time you experience a crisis in the office.
4. New Opportunities
Taking a vacation can open yourself up to new experiences, which may in turn lead to or inspire new opportunities for your business. Taking a cruise may open your eyes to new cultures, which could bring in new ideas for products or customer markets. Attending a friend’s wedding might introduce you to a great new business contact. Opportunities can be found everywhere, even outside the office.
Just don’t go into every conversation or trip expecting to make these serendipitous contacts. You’re there to enjoy yourself, not interview your next customer.
5. Recharge Your Batteries
The simplest reason to take a vacation is also the best. No matter how much you love your job, and how much work you think you can handle, sooner or later you’re going to run out of juice. Stress and burnout are the biggest career-ending factors in modern business. Taking a day off might be painful from a short-term productivity standpoint, but its far-reaching benefits more than make up for it.