Take a Vacation

Hammock view of river in Forks, WA

Americans have a vacation problem. More than half of American workers don’t use all of their paid vacation days. While those are pre-COVID-19 numbers, the problem hasn’t gotten any better. Earlier this year Goldman Sachs mandated employees take three weeks off each year.

While many Americans don’t have paid vacation and can’t afford to take time off, this issue is focused on those who do have the benefit and don’t take advantage of it. We’re a nation of workaholics that can’t tear ourselves away from work.

That can create all kinds of problems, from depression to burnout. That’s why Goldman Sachs is requiring vacation—time off makes their employees more productive.

So take a vacation.

Even if all you do is take half a day off, enjoy a long lunch, and wander around a park for the afternoon. Carve out that time to rest and relax. The deadlines can wait. Your work will be better for it.

And I get it, it’s hard. I’m far from the perfect example, often working on projects on weekends or evenings (though I try to reserve that for fun projects that also happen to be work). But last month my family took a long-delayed vacation to the Pacific Northwest. What a great trip. And full disclosure, yeah, I did have to bring my laptop and check in on a few projects. One of the perils of running your own business. But I definitely minimized that work and even hired someone to cover some work while I was gone.

However you can, find that time to unwind and reset. Your work will improve, your team and customers will thank you, and you’ll be better for it. I’m already itching for another trip.