We’re all so busy, rushing from meeting to meeting, checking our emails, producing PowerPoint presentations… It’s almost a badge of honour to say that we worked all weekend, we’ve got 45 vacation days still to take, we’re oh-so-important that we couldn’t possibly take time off.
This is a fallacy.
Working long hours, staying in the office, neglecting our families and our extracurricular activities – this is good for no one, not for the company, not for your family, and certainly not for you. Here are five reasons why you should take time out for a holiday; though I’m sure you can come up with more if you take a break from your work for a moment to do so…
1. Time to recover
Fundamentally, holidays are crucial for your personal health and wellbeing, and as a result also for your productivity at work. When you work late into the night, only to start again early the next morning, and you follow this routine day after day, you’ll grow sluggish and inefficient, liable to make mistakes, and probably also grumpy; all to the detriment of your projects, not to mention your relationships with your co-workers. Even just a few days off – a bit of sunshine, fresh air and, above all, sleep – can give you a renewed focus and injection of energy that will serve both you and the company.
2. Time to reflect
Time away from the daily grind is a great way to give you a new perspective on a problem you might have been struggling with, offer insight into a difficult decision, or just remind you of what’s really important in life. Are you getting bogged down in petty disputes and losing sight of the true purpose of your work? Have you been distracted from the big priorities? A bit of distance can help to put things into perspective and get you back on track in the office as well as at home.
3. Time to read
In today’s multi-media world, we rarely take the time to sit down with a good book and a nice a cup of tea. On holiday, we’re much more likely to put away our computers, put down our smartphones, and pick up a book. Whether it’s a paperback, an e-book or an audiobook, a novel or a self-improvement title, reading can give us new ideas, inspire a new project, or simply give us a welcome escape into another world.
4. Time to plan
All that recovering, reflecting, and reading will fill you with ideas that you’ll want to put into action when you get home. Make the most of that momentum to write lists, plan next steps, and book things into your calendar while you have the free time and the motivation to do so. In day-to-day life, there are so many priorities and to-do lists already that we rarely step back to plan the ‘big rocks’. A bit of planning will ensure that we’re focusing our energy on the right priorities that will keep us happy and fulfilled while also delivering on any commitments that we’ve made.
5. Time to reconnect
Perhaps most important of all, taking a holiday gives us the opportunity to spend time with friends or family in a stress-free (or at least less stressful) environment. Travelling alone similarly lets you reconnect with yourself, no less important. Nurturing personal relationships, face-to-face, with physical contact and time for heart-to-heart conversations, is so important and so easily neglected in the midst of our smartphone obsessions and all our deadlines. When do we otherwise take the time to play a game of cards, reminisce about shared memories, or just spend time laughing together without our duties and obligations hanging over us?
So when was your last holiday? When is your next one planned? Your assignment is to go away and take concrete steps towards your next holiday: discussing dates with your partner, requesting days from your boss, and ultimately clicking that ‘Book now’ button that will get you on the way to recovery and relaxation. Enjoy it!
*Disclaimer: I am currently on holiday and it is wonderful.*