Too many times we forget to put “recharge” on our to do list. We do our best to accomplish tasks for our work and personal lives, but we don’t make a conscious effort to plan for taking a break from pushing ourselves.
In fact, most of America does not completely recharge. In 2013, American workers took an average of only 16 of the 21 vacation days given to them. In 2018, 55% of Americans left vacation time on the table. In 2019, Americans chose to not use 768 million vacation days. Yes, you read that correctly. 768 MILLION! Yikes!
This is a time management blog, so you might be wondering, “What does R&R have to do with productivity?” The answer is: EVERYTHING!
Time Management and Recharging
There seems to be a belief that if you work longer hours, you’ll get much more done. This is most definitely a myth. Neuroscience tells us that the brain can’t work at maximum capacity for more than a few hours at a time. When your brain hits its personal limit, anything else you try to do is processed at a lower efficiency (and possibly lower effectiveness) rate. What you finish in 12 hours as you slog along could quite conceivably be finished in nine hours if you were to take recharge breaks.
If you could get the same amount of work done at the same quality or better, which would you prefer: working for 12 hours or working for 9?
Your answer should be a no-brainer, right? Yet millions of people drag their bodies and minds through longer-than-necessary work days.
Your Brain Needs a Break!
Neuroscience also tells us that our brains need not just short breaks throughout the day, but also extended breaks during the year. Your body, mind and soul need time to rejuvenate. You might feel completely recharged after a long three-week vacation – or even a break as short as a one-day staycation.
Plan for R&R!
If you haven’t yet taken a break from work in 2021 or if it’s been more than two months since you’ve taken a few days off, consider planning recharge time in Q4. Do you have any vacation days left? If so, can you utilize at least a couple of them between now and December 31? If you don’t have any more days left, can you focus at least a couple of your weekends on just relaxing? Even a half-day of pure fun or relaxation will give you a boost.
If you’re not sure how to plan your escape from the office, or if you have some great ideas but aren’t quite sure how to implement them, be sure to check out