Vacation Starvation

Vacation starvation. In the United States, it’s a thing. As a nation, nearly a third of employees don’t take all their earned vacation. And it’s worse for the self-employed.

“When you’re a perfectionist with a customer-service business, you’re never off-duty. It’s been years since my husband and I have gone away for more than a long weekend” – quote from a Pilates studio owner in a 2007 Parade article by Dianne Hales.

Yet study after study prove the benefits of taking vacations.

Why you should take a vacation
  • Studies confirm that when you go on vacation, your performance increases when you go back to work.
  • Women who took a vacation only once in 6 years were twice as likely to report high rates of tension, depression, and anxiety as women who took vacations two or more times each year. The women who took vacations had stronger marriages, too.
  • People who are overworked are more likely to make mistakes and feel angry.
  • The consulting firm McKinsey & Co. asked managers where they got their best ideas. It wasn’t at the office. Inspiration came when people were at play.
So why don’t we take vacations?
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • No plan
Solutions to Vacation Starvation
  • Make taking a vacation a business priority and put your vacation dates on your calendar as part of your yearly business planning.
  • Write down all the fears you have about taking a vacation. Now you have the outline of what will become your vacation planning guidelines.
  • Start planning your vacation at least six months in advance.
    • Schedule a few minutes each week to brainstorm ways to mitigate each of your fears.
    • Honestly, lots of small businesses used to put a notice on their door and close for a week. If you are a solopreneur, think of it as an opportunity to reach out and contact your customer base directly to let them know in advance when your business will be closed for vacation. I’ll bet those calls even generate additional income for you.
    • If you have employees, what can you delegate? What can you automate?
  • Test your plan by taking a few long weekends. What worked? What needs to be tweaked or re-thought?

Consider taking a vacation part of your performance improvement plan. If you need more help, give me a call. I can walk you through a process to create a vacation plan for you and your business.

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