School is out and the first official day of summer has passed. That means it’s time for people to plan their summer vacations! However, people aren’t having as much “fun in the sun” as they used to. Since the early 90’s, vacation time has drastically decreased from an average 20 days per year to just around 16. In fact, 55% of Americans in 2015 left vacation days unused totaling 658 million days.
This trend does not bode well for the overall health and quality of life of Americans, especially for the self-employed and small business owner. Before you consider working through another weekend or pushing out taking that family vacation, you want to think twice about the real costs. Even you need a summer vacation and here are three good reasons why.
Over-Worked and Over-Stressed!
Business owners do not work the typical 9-5. Almost half work over 50 hours a week and even then, don’t stop when they get home at night. As this pace continues, the line between work time and downtime blurs as you find yourself answering emails, taking phone calls, and thinking about your to-do list instead of engaging with family and friends. This constant connection to work leads to burnout quickly, which can be a guaranteed death sentence for a business. By taking time away from work, you can gain valuable perspective and capacity to work smarter versus harder.
Creating Work-Life Balance
Research has proven that our ability to be happy and enjoy quality of life is directly correlated to how well we balance work-time and play-time. The more we can establish a balance between the two, the more likely we are to feel content with life in general. When working 50 to 60 or more hours a week, however, maintaining this balance becomes elusive. Not only will you likely become less happy and content, but the quality of your work will likely suffer too! If you truly want it all – and you can have it all – be mindful. Proactively define a work-play schedule that offers balance and stick to it.
Surge and Recover
Nature operates in cycles and so do we. We need our wake time and our sleep time. We enjoy working hard and taking vacations. Consider the analogy of a runner training for a marathon. They engage in intense workouts followed by a recovery period before the race. This is to avoid injury and ensure they have the energy to perform at 100%. As a business owner, your brain benefits from the same surge-and-recover strategy. A well-planned vacation doing just what you enjoy – which does not include work – better prepares you for operating at peak performance when you are working.
Despite the decrease in vacation time over the last 20 years, there is hope! Both 2015 and 2016 revealed a resurgence that is expected to continue into 2017. C’mon, surge and recover!