Give Yourself a Break


“I don’t remember the last time I took a vacation,” said an old friend after I told him about my family vacation. “Even when I’m on vacation, I’m not really on vacation at all,” he says. “My wife and kids are out at the beach… and here I am in the room planning meetings, tapping on my iPad, my iPhone, my laptop.”

As a self-admitted workaholic he doesn’t give himself a break…

It’s gotten so bad even his kids have threatened to take their own vacations. And they’re eight and 10.

He’s not alone, though.

Recent surveys have shown that up to 55% of workers come back from vacation without ever relaxing. Others struggle with work related stress when they’re away. Another survey found that close to 70% of executives check in with their office up to two times a week while on vacation.

I was on a cruise with a guy like that a few years ago. His roaming charges from the boat in the middle of the ocean were unbelievable.

As I told my friend, burning out is a high price to pay not only for employees, but for the overall business. As a New York Times article pointed out in 2013, “Ernst & Young did an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors improved by 8 percent. Frequent vacationers were also significantly less likely to leave the firm.”

Your kids aren’t likely to make vacation threats either.

I bring this up after reading the latest Money article, “How to Unplug from Work,” which simply explains how to reclaim your lost time.

See where you stand, it notes. Is work taking over your weekends and nights? If so, take a step back. Share you schedule with coworkers. If you have to get your kids, or go to class, let people know.

Speak up. If your boss is crossing the line, making too many demands on your time, say something... politely, of course. The last thing you want to do is tell your boss where to stick his or her demands…

Put every one on notice of your vacation plans. Get things done beforehand.

And be sure to send the right message. In an auto-responder e-mail just let people know when you’ll be back.

As I told my friend, just go on vacation already. Leave the electronics, your work at home… or your kids are going on vacation themselves.