Can a Summer Vacation Supercharge your Career?

Can a Summer Vacation Supercharge your Career?

The answer is a resounding, yes.

First the facts:

  • Ernst & Young reports that taking ten hours of vacation each month resulted in an 8% increase in performance ratings.
  • Harvard Business Review interviewed more than 5,000 people and found that those who use more vacation time than their counterparts are promoted at twice the rate.

How can this be?

Everyone needs an occasional break in the action to rest up and relax, but taking an actual vacation (no work emails) is an altogether different story. 

It’s been well documented by research, that vacations, particularly those that incorporate extended quiet time and solitude, often result in innovation and creativity – many times a major breakthrough.

The experts tell us that if you want to be more successful in your career, the thing one can do is step away from it.  

And stepping away from it, means really getting away from it – limit the work distractions, particularly, work emails.  If you’re mixing work with time away, then you’re not going to reap the rewards.  Not nearly.

For those who take off for even longer periods of time – sabbaticals – the time away from work can be transformative.  Many tech firms are encouraging their top talent to take sabbaticals from work now.

I go away to Saratoga every mid-August for ten days to meet up with a close set of personal friends that I have known for a very long time.  We only check our emails in the morning and then before going to bed.  Everything in between is thoughtful interaction and activities geared towards self-reflection and bouncing creative ideas off each other.  I always come back home with a list of new business and personal initiatives.  Last year, I returned home with pages of notes on how to improve my client service offerings including a new executive coaching initiative.  I also came away with notes on a new website design along with new social media initiatives which have since been implemented.

Hollywood is a great example of this.  One of the best actors in the world today, Daniel Day-Lewis routinely takes off two years between films. Tom Cruise does the same. 

So if you are in a position where you are able to get paid to take time off, take it.  If that is a bit too daunting, then start small.  Take of a few days every month and then graduate to a couple weeks. 

And if this seems too daunting, at least start planning your next vacation.  It will give you something to start looking forward to. 

Taking vacation may be one of the few things that leverages your time equally between work, family, and health.

I just reached for my Google Calendar app on my phone.  I am now taking off the last Friday and Monday of each month the rest of the year!

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