Go on - take a holiday

2004

Does it feel like your phone is surgically attached to your ear? Are the letters on your computer’s keyboard wearing off? Does working a half-day mean “twelve hours?”

For those who believe the workplace will crumble if they leave for more than a weekend, I’d like to affirm that “getting away from it all” is a healthy thing. The principle put forth at the dawn of time - six days and a rest - is for our own good. Time off for rest allows the brain and the body to recharge.

Unfortunately, too often we come back from our vacations needing a rest! We pack so much into our time off that we’re exhausted when we return to work. Where’s the relaxation?

Rest and rejuvenation are important to higher levels of productivity. All production without a recharge results in lower production.

Rest and rejuvenation are important to higher levels of productivity. All production without a recharge results in lower production.

One example of this was made evident during World War II. Factory workers in England were working ten-hour days, seven days per week. You can imagine the burden, and the dedication. But somewhere along the line it was decided to give people a day off, plus reduce the number of hours they worked in a day. With fewer hours of “production,” the factories expected lower production numbers. But the contrary was true: Production went up.

The standard axiom is that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, but a pile of research since WWII shows it also makes Jack less productive.

Usually we pack our vacations with things to do: Visit our favorite places or explore new ones, visit family or friends, or pack our time with “fix-it” projects around the house. Although valid, these standard vacation practices often leave us feeling like we needing a vacation from our vacation. Here are a few mental health tips that may help you get some true rest:

  • Plan to get away for a few days where you’ll be away from telephones and Email. Make it a place where only your immediate family or an essential co-worker can reach you in case of an emergency.
  • Take off your watch and leave it (along with your daytimer) on the bedroom dresser.
  • Leave all your business reading behind. Only non-work related reading material allowed.
  • Avoid making firm time commitments wherever possible. Instead of being someplace “right at 3:00,” plan on being somewhere “in the afternoon” or “between 2:00 and 4:00.” Remember, the objective is to relax.
  • Purpose to focus on nature – the birds, the trees, the mountains or the lakes or the ocean.

Look for the joy of life. It goes far beyond what you do at work. Remember that at your funeral, people will not be talking about how much money you saved the company or how much overtime you worked, but rather what kind of person you were.

If you’ve already taken your vacation this year, try doing these things over a weekend. Your work, your co-workers, your family, and your total self will benefit from such a time of rejuvenation.

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About The Author

Dan Bobinski
Dan Bobinski

Dan Bobinski is a training specialist, author, and an accomplished keynote speaker. He's been providing management and leadership training to Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller, regional concerns for more than 20 years.

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