Monday, July 10, 2006

The Importance of Time Off

One of the negatives of being the wired junkie that most of us have become is that, as Tom Friedman has said, we are always "in" and never "out." No matter where we are, we are available … and that includes vacations, too. Yet it is my contention that if we do not disconnect from the web as well as our jobs and take a respite from both, we will be unable to connect with life.

One- to two-week vacations are an opportunity to break the routine and gain new perspectives on all we are doing. I know that I get all kinds of ideas when I am away about all kinds of things that float in and out of my head. But for the most part I have trained myself -- a bit of a workaholic when I am here -- to forget about my work when I am away. Unless I have a crisis to deal with (and I generally don't; how many real crises are there?) I shut everything out and don't call the office and request not to be called (and try to encourage our employees to do likewise). For me it is the key to sustained long-term optimum performance between vacations, which is most of my life!

That is why I was struck by an editorial in TIME magazine I read about a week ago that a large percentage of Americans leave vacation time on the table. Why? Because they fear all the work that will accumulate when they return!! Unbelievable! According to Expedia.com, Americans will pass up more than 574 million vacation days in 2006 … despite the fact that there are incredible health and wellness benefits associated with time off from work and despite the fact that one-third of Americans report that they feel better about their job and more productive upon returning from vacation.

TIME says that, because of the accumulated work load issue, people are trending to shorter vacations of 3 to 5 days or no vacation at all, just taking a break by spending a few hours reading in comfy chairs at Barnes & Nobles or Starbucks. Thus McDonald's is considering changing their stationary table and chair set-up for cushy chairs that people can linger in.

While connectivity means productivity, I think we are on overdrive. We have become tyrannized by time, and we all need a break to make sure we see things clearly.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Bolan said...

I understand the tyranny of time. Amen to vacation.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 1:17:00 AM  
Blogger Ken Makovsky said...

Thanks. We agree. Get in touch when you are in NY.

Thursday, July 13, 2006 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Gauri said...

I took a couple of months off after graduation. It gave me time to renergize and is a decision I haven't regretted at all. Time off is very important.

Monday, July 17, 2006 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Ken Makovsky said...

Time off is a great investment! Glad it worked to your advantage.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest that you don't work for the HCA (Hospital Corp. of America) as they are taking away vacation time from employees!!!

Saturday, September 23, 2006 7:06:00 PM  
Blogger Ken Makovsky said...

Good point!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 10:21:00 AM  

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