Is Summer Vacation Productivity Time?
How can doing less, rest and recharge help us all be more productive?
It’s summer time in the northern hemisphere. For many people that means a chance to take time off, kick back maybe at the cottage, beach, on a dock or just in the backyard with a barbecue. Or as I heard last night in a move “put your feet in the sand and relax”. Sounds like a great idea.
But how does that help us be more productive?
But I’m Too Busy to Take Time Off
In today’s fast-paced world, the notion of taking time off for a vacation might seem counterintuitive to productivity. However, research and real-life experiences consistently highlight the vital role that vacations play in supporting and enhancing overall productivity. Contrary to popular belief, taking regular breaks and immersing oneself in leisure activities can have a significant positive impact on an individual’s work performance and overall well-being.
A Change is as Good as a Rest
The saying, “A change is as good as a rest” originated in the Victorian era. This was before computers, electronic calendars and the potential for instant video conversations around the world. Our lives have sped up and become more complicated. The need for a break from our day to day stress is more important that ever. Vacation can provide that change. It might be anything from a staycation to an exotic trip. The bottom line is that you are not doing what you do when you are not on vacation.
The Benefits of Vacation
The folks at Allina Health in the USA found seven benefits to planning and taking a vacation. Interestingly, even planning for the vacation can boost our mood. Meanwhile MacMaster University suggests that vacation provides an opportunity rest, relax and recharge. This in turn boosts productivity since individuals have a chance to unplug from the day to day stress.
Additional benefits include:
- Improved physical health. By reducing stress we reduce the risk of stress enhanced ailments such as coronary artery disease. Individuals who are more physically fit may be more productive with high endurance.
- Mental Rejuvenation. Vacation allows for a feeling of calm and rest. This in turns allows the body and mind to renew and recharge. Returning to work with an improved mood helps increase focus and productivity. The media mogul and television personality Oprah Winfrey is known for taking regular vacations to recharge. She often talks about how these breaks help her refocus and maintain her high level of productivity and creativity. Arianna Huffington, the co-founder of The Huffington Post and author of “The Sleep Revolution” is an advocate for work-life balance and the importance of taking breaks.
- Increased Creativity. Stepping away from the day to day through vacation or a mini retreat, allows our brain to see things from a new perspective. Without the day to day stress, with a change in routine, creativity is stimulated. Richard Branson disconnect when he goes on vacation in order to recharge and enhance his creativity. Branson claims to be able to new insights into old problems.
So if you have vacation time coming here are a few tips to help you recharge and come back renewed and rejuvenated.
- First up, take your vacation time.
- Try and arrange a change in scenery and change in schedule.
- Build in lots of down time for reflection and relaxation. Think read a book, swim or whatever is relaxing for you.
- Unplug. Spend time without your phone or email.
- Build in time when you return to prepare for your return to the normal day to day life. That way you aren’t rushed to find clean clothes and the car keys.
We all need time to recharge to be more productive. Vacation can help improve physical being, improve mental and emotional outlook and thereby improve productivity. So take your vacation. And enjoy.