I don’t normally take a day off, but when I do I’m usually skipping down Main Street U.S.A. or stumbling along Las Vegas Blvd. However, due to the current affairs of the world, vacations for me have been sparse. My head feels bare without my mouse ears, and my taste buds long for a pineapple frozen treat. My eyes yearn for the reels that go round and round and my pointer finger has developed this odd twitch as if it’s searching for the spin button. My vacation tank is on E. But my PTO (paid time off) bank is filling up fast. To avoid hitting the point where I stop accruing PTO days, I took a day.
It was an odd feeling. It was a Monday, the kids were off school so I didn’t have to “Mom”, and my other half was at work, so I didn’t even have to “Wife”. I slept till seven, drank coffee in my pajamas the majority of morning. I was in no rush. I didn’t check emails first thing, or even scroll through the various chats. I meandered down to my office at about ten, and that was only to hang a shelf. I’ll admit I answered a few messages but the best part of the day was only doing what I wanted to do, and avoiding anything I didn’t. I needed it, even though I didn’t know it.
Often our people request days off for doctors appointments, something that has to be done for a child or a pet, or a commitment they must fulfill during the 9-5. That isn’t fun, or relaxing, or remotely close to a day off. Vacation time gets hoarded in fear that if an emergency occurs or prince charming grants you a surprise tropical holiday, the hours of paid time off won’t be there. As a manager or supervisor it is important to not only allow, but to encourage employees to use the time they have earned. Our people work best when they feel their best.
I challenge everyone (with manager approval) to find a day and take the day. And here’s why:
- Reset and Refresh: Find your happy place. Whether it be on the couch binging, spending the day outdoors, or even giving the house a top to bottom wipe down. Discover what makes you satisfied and do it. By allowing yourself guilt free time to embrace what brings you joy, you can start the next day with a clear outlook, a good night sleep and maybe even a few things checked off of your honey do list. Whether it be a long weekend or a random day of the week, giving yourself “me time” will center you and allow you to rediscover yourself. #FreetimeFriday
- Avoid Burn-out: Doing the same thing day after day can be draining, no matter how much you love your job. We get into the monotonous routine of work, eat, sleep, weekend, repeat. Spice it up. Give your mentals a jolt and break the cycle. I dare you to take a Wednesday.
- Reduce Stress and Anxiety: Studies have shown that the occurrence of cardiac emergencies are higher on Mondays. You are going back to work and you didn’t relax over the weekend. Two weddings, a nephew’s first birthday party, and a broken deck board kept you from finding your zen. You worry about what the week will bring, what you did not accomplish on your short two days off. You pencil in last weekend’s chores onto next week’s list that now causes panic just looking at. I beg you to take a Monday. You need it, and we need you.
- Increased Productivity and Focus: Have you ever stared at the screen so long without blinking that it becomes fuzzy? Blinking gives our eyes a chance to rest. Albeit, they don’t need to take a PTO day to come back strong, but you do. In the creation of this week’s Reman U , I have stood up, done something else, and even walked away for a moment. Each time I return to this tab, the words just flow, whereas I had just moments ago blankly starred with nothing to say. I was able to come back and conquer my task. Don’t diminish the power of a fresh perspective. You may need just a blink to get refueled and refocused. Take a time-out, they are wasted on children, you will appreciate it. Half days are underrated. They let you knock out your must do’s and then enjoy your want to do’s. I promise you will be more productive before, during and after if you take the afternoon off.
Weekends are great, but sometimes two days isn’t enough to refill your tank. It’s O.K. to need an extra day to slow down, refuel and refocus so that you can come back calmer, happier and ready to work.
My work batteries are drained for the day. Off to make “Time-outs For Grown Ups” signs and dance in the street.