This may come as no surprise to all of you hard workers out there: The U.S. is majorly lagging behind most other developed countries when it comes to vacation days. According to a recent study, about 57% of working Americans had unused vacation time at the end of 2011. It is further likely no surprise that these 57% are not using their time because they feel they just have too much work to do. Are Americans just so overloaded compared to others, that they can’t take a moment???
Maybe it’s the current Vegas ad campaign bringing this to my attention (or my extreme difficulty of receiving responses from vendors in overseas countries due to “holidays” and “siestas”) but I feel it is still important to note that vacation days are there for a reason. It is actually scientifically proven that taking personal time off reduces stress, improves creativity, and boosts employee morale. While I am one of the many who love their job, I am also one who has always worked to the tune of pushing hard to get the job done so I can play harder. This “wise advice” has proven to offer me a more fulfilled life, which leads to being happier (and more productive) at work.
And I’m not the only one who believes this – Hacker Group employees were given a free day off this summer. So I’m asking them: Did you take your day? Did you get out, try something new, and/or do something to better yourself? It is one day, and that one day could make a world of a difference - take a paddle-board lesson, camp out in a tee-pee by the river, make bologna sandwiches and hand them out to homeless, fill your tank and drive your family up to the mountains for the day…
Convinced yet? I challenge you to join me and others in a similar way: each week, do something out of the ordinary to experience new things to renew yourself as a person and co-worker. For me, it may be fishing a new stream, finally taking that paddle-board lesson, or just choosing a different way to walk home. I think it’s important that we all take a moment to step back and work on our own “happiness project.” And if you’re one of the 57% who find it not feasible to take such time for yourself, maybe a Sunday afternoon will do just fine. The opportunities are endless, and I encourage anyone (regardless of whether your company offers a free vacation day) to take this advice as well. Share your experiences, rejuvenate yourself, encourage others to take part, and see if you start to see the world in a different light.