The next time you see a tour bus disgorge a few dozen Japanese tourists armed with flashing Nikons and sensible walking shoes, don’t laugh. At least they’re taking a vacation!
As it has probably discovered every year since its inception in 2005, Expedia’s annual Vacation Deprivation Survey found that more Americans forego their allotted vacation time then than their European counterparts. While it varies from year to year, we’ve even been known to take less vacation than the Japanese (you know, the land that invented karoshi or death by overwork?)
Statistics aside, the fact is that all work and no play will invariably make Jack and Jill dull, sad, stressed, and generally unhappy boys and girls. Productivity is not measured by how many hours you spend in front of a computer. It’s measured by how much one innovates, grows, evolves, and succeeds. And none of the above is possible if you’re burnt out and so caught up in the quagmire of daily deadlines that you have no perspective.
Luckily, vacations are not beyond the reach of small business owners, even if we sometimes think they are. It’s just a matter of being creative.
Take a vacation in the off-season, when tickets are far less expensive. Or find a way to combine work with play. If you’ve got to take a trip for work, add on a few days and explore. Even airplanes have wireless these days, so you’ll never be completely out of touch, unless you make a concerted effort to be. If taking one long vacation seems too daunting, take several mini-holidays. Long weekends can be surprisingly restorative. Or pretend you’re French once a month (or more often than that if you can) and work a 35-hour workweek.
Life always comes first. You deserve a vacation. So go take one!