In an October 2014 article titled “Unused Vacation Days at 40-Year High”, author Amy Langfeld, paints a disappointing picture. According to a new study by Oxford Economics, Americans are using only 77% of their paid time off which in essence means we are working for free one week each year. What’s worse is that, as Darren Hardy shares in this Darren Daily, 42% of Americans failed to use any of their paid vacation in 2014! This is despite the fact that we all know vacation time is good for us. Statistics even show that employees who use more of their vacation days have better performance reviews, increased productivity, and decreased turnover.
So why aren’t we using our paid time off? Some people say it’s the hassle of preparing to leave and then the increased workload when they return. Others just don’t want to spend the money to take an actual vacation and would rather work than just sit at home. I would like to call bull-sh%& on both accounts. The real reason we aren’t taking that time off is because we are afraid to take action outside of what is our normal routine. We are so used to getting up every day, driving to work, sitting at our desk, drinking our coffee, and going through our daily routine, that the thought of doing something different is downright scary.
You know what is even scarier? By forfeiting our paid time off, we are essentially working for free for that time, not allowing ourselves the time to recharge and refresh, not experiencing the joy that travel can bring, and prioritizing our jobs over all else. By working when we don’t have to, we are putting work as our number one priority, before family, before self, before all else. What is that teaching our kids and what are we telling our spouses?
Though the travel industry would prefer we use our PTO to take a vacation, we don’t have to. We can use that time to meet a friend for lunch, work on a home project, read a book, or get in a round of golf. Leaving our work behind for a day or two, or even a week, can seem, frankly, like a lot of work, but in the long run, we’ll be better off. Because let’s face it, if we left our job, they’d hire someone to replace us. Our family and friends couldn’t do that. Let’s show them they are our priority by spending time with them. Take that vacation, go out to lunch, just get out of the office and enjoy ourselves – because sometimes taking a vacation is the most motivating action we can take!
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?