The Idea: Physical health gurus know that rest is necessary for rebuilding muscles you’ve recently worked. The same is true for your mental and emotional state in the workplace. In order to benefit from your work, you must let your brain relax. Only then will you maximize your efforts. Personal vacations are not optional, they are the secret to creative growth – the more you can turn it all off, the healthier and more you thrive in all parts of your life. So why can’t we just let it go?
According to The U.S. Travel Association, 40% of employees are afraid of the mountain of work they’ll face when they return from a break. Similarly, a 2014 Glassdoor report uncovered that 61% of employees work while on vacation and are expected to be available. This corporate requirement demoralizes and hinders real creativity. In fact, every time we allow work to creep into our downtime, we trump the amazing creative process. Not disconnecting is bad for business.
Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, argues that happiness & positive engagement drives creativity, not the other way around. In other words, creativity & productivity is a bi-product of being in a refreshed state of mind. Downtime matters and so does a vacation allowing one to truly disconnect and get off the grid.
Researchers in the Netherlands also uncovered a direct link between happiness and planning for a vacation. The act of simply planning for vacation elevates happiness for up to 8 weeks prior to the trip.
Don’t cheat yourself. When taking a vacation, ensure your email auto-reply clearly conveys your vacation status and provides direction: “I am on vacation until July 26th and I promise to come back recharged, energized and full of ideas to support you. Unless this is super critical, let’s talk then.” Make it very clear you are taking time off to refresh and you are not available unless it is vitally urgent.
Taking a vacation is necessary for growth, creativity and emotional health. It also allows you to disrupt bad habits, ponder your future and rebuild a sense of purpose.
Plan something special this summer.