Thinking about taking a vacation from business but don't want it to hurt your work or stymie your productivity? Stop worrying! In many cases a short break can actually benefit your work and productivity in the long run. Yes, you read that correctly. More vacations can actually mean increased productivity.
How can that be, you ask? In order to grasp how this works, take a look at some of the benefits a vacation from business can provide, as well as the potential downsides of not taking vacations.
1. Your cognitive resources are rejuvenated.
When you're constantly surrounded by problems that need to be solved and daily projects with tight deadlines to be met, it's easy to put things like taking a vacation on the back burner.
However, when you take a break from business, you can let your mind rest and see things a little more clearly again.
You may find that you return with a clear vision going forward. You may also get an influx of creative ideas for ways to solve problems around the office. And you may also find that your battery has been recharged. With a clear goal in mind, this new boost of energy and focus can aid you in completing tasks in record speed. Once you've given your brain a break, you may find that your mind is clearer and better suited to really get things done when it's time to get back to work.
2. Vacations can give you an energy boost.
Work can zap your physical energy, whether you're on the move or not. From running daily operations to managing a team to coming up with creative solutions for ways to overcome obstacles, work can take a toll on your energy levels. You may find that you're too tired and worn down by the end of the day to really get anything of value accomplished—or at least not to the level of excellence that you'd expect if you weren't so exhausted. And if you tend to continue working into the wee hours of the night, you might even start out each day without much energy at all to spare.
By taking a step back and allowing yourself, and more importantly your brain, to really relax, you may find that you get loads of that energy back. Not only can this help you in developing better ideas—you may also have enough enthusiasm and vitality to actually put those plans into action.
3. Mental fatigue can dissipate.
It's not just physical energy that you need. Even if you get enough sleep throughout the night to sustain your physical energy throughout your workday, you can still be worn out mentally and emotionally. This may look a little different than physical fatigue. Instead of being visibly exhausted, you may find that you're out of ideas, unwilling to take initiative, argumentative and defensive and not very productive at all. Not only can mental fatigue decrease your productivity, it can also hamper relationships with peers, colleagues and your team at work.
By taking vacations, you can take an actual prolonged break from the grind of those day-to-day tasks and the constant drain on your brainpower and energy reserves. Taking a break that's longer than just an evening of sleep at your own home can help to restore those much needed energy reserves. With your energy boosted, you can come back to work ready and able to decisively think through problems and develop solutions that are up to high standards.
4. Emotional self-control may return.
A lack of emotional self-control can, perhaps, be one of the most harmful side effects of never taking vacations from your business. Not only can a lack of emotional self-control impair your work and productivity, it can also damage your personal and professional relationships, not to mention your reputation among your peers, business associates and your team.
This damage can be everlasting—or at the very least incredibly difficult to repair.
Should that happen, it can tax your emotions heavily once again and create a negative cycle that's difficult to break. Once you've earned a reputation as a hot head in the office, it's very difficult to erase the impression to restore your image and credibility. It's likely you'll find that others become uncomfortable around you and change their behavior towards you in an effort to tip-toe around your seemingly unstable emotions.
When you're emotionally spent, you may resort to the solution that appears easiest whenever you're faced with a problem. Or you may become hyper-controlling of situations in an overarching effort to restore a feeling of self-control. And it's also possible that you may become hyper-critical of those around you in an unconscious effort to deflect from your own shortcomings you're experiencing at the moment.
Taking vacations from business to rest and restore your physical, mental and emotional resources means you're more likely to maintain self-control. This may help you be intentional and positive when it comes to making decisions, solving problems and interacting with others in a collaborative manner.
5. Your ability to focus receives a fresh reset.
Focus is another essential element of running a business. If you're just in cruise control constantly, you might be able to sustain things for a while. But you're not likely to see a lot of growth in that mode. Even if you're not shooting for growth, you'll likely come across issues that require dedicated focus at some point.
If you never take a vacation from business and the daily grind, it's difficult to break out of that cruise control mode where you just do what is necessary to keep things running. And when faced with situations, challenges and people that require your focus, it can take much longer and feel more difficult if you've just been constantly working for months or even years without a break.
6. You may experience increased satisfaction.
Taking time off from running your business can benefit your productivity because you're less likely to experience some of the negative side effects of being mentally and physically exhausted. When you're able to get stuff done AND take time for yourself, you're more likely to feel satisfaction.
Taking a break from your business can also lead to a better work-life balance. If you're able to avoid issues in your home and personal life, there's less likelihood of draining the precious mental, physical and emotional resources needed to do a job well done.
Vacations can help you feel more satisfied with your work. And when you feel happy and satisfied with yourself and with a job well done, you may find that your relationships with others naturally improve. And when your relationships with others are improved, successful networking and collaboration can occur. Taking a vacation can help lead to increased productivity that produces sustained overall success in the long run.
For more tips to help you achieve a better work-life balance, watch the exclusive video series, made in partnership with MSNBC: Work-Life Balance: Tips from the Trenches.
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