Why You Should Take Every Single Day Of Annual Leave

I’ve spent years within the corporate world watching managers and directors running themselves into the ground through work, many of them taking minimal vacation time. I have heard stories of senior members of staff leaving the dinner party table to reply to emails while the guests continue to enjoy the evening. Talk about taking your profession way too far.

Even as an individual who is passionate about their profession there still needs to be a balance of none work activities and work activities. This includes vacation time.

Life is nothing without those around you and your working career is only successful if you have people to appreciate it with. Vacation time is essential for all those within business irrespective of your job role. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a cleaner, a company director or a self employed business owner; the need for down time should not be underestimated. I’ve personally watched managers slowly self destruct due to the stress involved with their work. Sometimes it’s unavoidable however most of them create their own situations by refusing to say ‘No’ or not taking advantage of annual leave. The importance of annual leave on your overall career should not be dismissed.

Without that time ‘away’ from the business I believe you lose perspective on life. You become involved within the business, blinkered from the outside world and opinions. Sometimes you need to unplug from work, spend time with your loved ones and actually think about why you work so hard in the first place.

If you are one of those individuals who dismiss their vacation time as important then just think about the bigger picture. Think about your family, your business performance, your live longevity and health. You might not feel like you need vacation but even time away from the computer for those digital heads will make a huge difference to all aspects of your life. Still not convinced? Obsessed with work and cannot put the laptop down? Have a think about the below:

You recharge you batteries:

8 hours + work a day for 30 years of your life is going to have just one result. SELF DESTRUCT. Periodically we humans need a rest from the daily rigor. This means stepping away from the norm and doing something different. Sitting on the sofa and watching television, reading a heap of literature while on a sandy beach are prime examples of a way to switch up the routine.

To do the above you MUST take a day off from work. The Americans are the worst for this. 14 days annual leave a year is quite frankly a piss take. The Greeks are also the same. It’s no coincidence both economies are on their asses. Sure it’s not the primary reason but who would be inspired by two weeks of annual leave? Not me.Relaxation

The German economy however is relatively strong and they get some of the most holidays in the Europe. Again no coincidence. Down tools, recharge your batteries and come back like a Duracell bunny.

Creativity runs through your veins:

When you are in the work mind set your brain is focused on your ‘to do list’ or ‘task list’ and rarely do you have time to be creative. When you are on vacation however your brain is usually given time away from your work at home and thus it can spark into life once again.

I spent two weeks in the Caribbean a few years back computer free and away from the office. It gave me a new lease of life and inspired me to think creatively. It gave me a few free hours a day to read some great books and really awaken my mind. The corporate world has a funky way of numbing your mind into your daily routine. Stepping away from that routine for a sustained period of time can wake up that creative beast inside you.

The first few weeks upon your return from vacation and always really creative with new ways of thinking. Where would this spark come from without time away from the office?

You sleep better:

Work stress and tension is rife. Even those without a stressful job will still ‘think’ about work on an evening and on a weekend. When you know you have to be up in the morning for an important conference call or meeting them typically your sleep will not be as good.

When it comes to sleeping I’m not the best and many people I know in similar roles are the same. Vacation time releases that tension and stress and invariably you will sleep better. More sleep usually equates to a happier body and happier mind. Why not take some vacation time, catch up on sleep and enjoy the days with your family?

Enthusiasm returns:

Motivation and enthusiasm are the killers of all work flow when working in the corporate world. 5 days a week of constant number crunching for most will drain all the enthusiasm and motivation within their suit wearing bodies.

Time off lowers stress levels, stimulates your brain and you will be enthused when you return to the office. In turn your productivity will skyrocket. Nobody likes to see a stressed colleague; eyeballs twitching from the intake of caffeine and sleepless nights. It’s not big and it’s not pretty.

Despite people thinking vacation starved co-workers are the most dedicated it’s not actually true. They become woven into the routine and the enthusiasm falls off the cliff. See the world or just take some downtime and your enthusiasm will return.

Your family don’t leave you:

One of the primary reasons I work so hard in my day to day role is to make OUR life better. When I say our life I mean my partner and future families’ life. Working in the high pressured corporate world you say the breakdown of many relationships or the neglect of children. They may provide their child with a comfortable upbringing but children most of all need time. I’m no expert but I can see the cracks from a mile off and so can you.Family Time

As well as some relaxation time the vacation is time to really immerse yourself in family life. This is even more important for those with high pressure jobs as the family is usually on the receiving end of the stress. You won’t see senior management showing cracks at the office. It doesn’t happen. Game face is maintained however when they get home the wife and children will feel the wrath.

Those who work long hours and then fail to take vacations are essentially fueling the fire for the breakdown of family life. Remember the life you are trying to build through your work.

You don’t die early:

There’s a raft of studies throughout the web which maintain that those who skip vacation time are more likely to die younger than those who don’t. Sounds dramatic and it is. Stress levels go through the roof which can lead to many problems including a rise in heart attacks. It’s a common fixture within the ranks of senior management.

By leaving the office for a sustained period of time the worry and stress of your to do list is released and your focus moves away from your key office responsibilities. Any feelings of depression will also be released through vacation time. Work is important but so is your general health and having time away from stress can only help with this.

Preserve your life. It’s more important than those spreadsheets and even though business is important, most things can wait or be taken care of in your absence. There’s such a thing as ‘business critical’ but there’s no such thing as ‘person critical’. The business will function fine without you.

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.

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