Please Just Stop!
By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Sometimes we simply need to stop. Working harder and longer isn’t always the answer. Sometimes you must stop, disconnect, and rest. It has taken me thirty-seven years to realize that time away from work can actually help you do better, do more, and enjoy work more.

According to a recent survey, U.S. employees only take half of their allotted vacation. Among those who do take a vacation, three in five admitted doing some amount of work while on vacation. 25% were contacted by a co-worker, and 20% were contacted by their boss about a work-related issue while they were on vacation. We simply need to stop this. All of this “dedication” isn’t helping us at all.

Those who take a vacation can find the following benefits:

  • Reduced Stress – A University of Vienna study found that vacationers had fewer stress-related complaints such as headaches, backaches, and heart irregularities.
  • Heart Disease Prevention – Men at risk of heart disease, who put off vacations, can be 30% more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who take annual vacations.
  • Improved Productivity – Ernst & Young found that for every 10 hours of additional vacation time taken, year-end performance ratings improved 8%.
  • Better Sleep – All of us can find times in our life when our sleep habits get off track. It might be having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Sleep deprivation causes a myriad of issues from cardiovascular issues, weight gain, depression, even a loss of cognitive thinking. Vacations allow us to reshape our sleeping habits.

My wife and I just returned from a vacation, so I have firsthand knowledge of its benefits.  We had an amazing time. When I returned home I immediately experienced the following benefits:

  1. Lower Stress – Although returning from a week away meant that I had a lot of work waiting for me, my stress level remained very low. Physically and mentally I was able to handle it much easier.
  2. More Energy – My energy levels have been much higher since my return. Tasks don’t seem as arduous, and I am actually enjoying them.
  3. Increased Mental Sharpness – I am able to create better content faster. At least I think it’s better. Others will need to be the final judge, but it is coming together more quickly.

I believe the key to my vacation’s success was that I completely disconnected. No emails, no phone calls, no distractions. On our way back home, I asked my wife what her favorite part of our vacation was; I was shocked when she said, “You completely disconnected from work.” How about you? When will you disconnect and recharge your life?

This week on The Next Page podcast, I’ll spend some time discussing the importance of recharging further. Wondering why Marisa wasn’t there to join me? She was taking her vacation!

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