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How Important Are Vacations?

by Mike Karfakis on September 19, 2011


Photo courtesy of Loren Sztajer

Now that fall is near, the summer vacation pictures are uploaded, and the kids are back in school, we wonder, where did the summer go?

This recent Huffington Post article addressing the need for vacations starts off with mentioning someone who obviously needs vacations, the president. But everyone, not just the leader of the country, needs a break. However, because of the recession, I don’t think it’s just me noticing a recent drop in Americans vacationing. Besides the cast of Jersey Shore going to Italy, of course.

A study performed on behalf of Westin Hotels found that 64% of employed professionals canceled vacations this year, a third of them for work. Similarly, a study by USA Today found that 51% of online respondents didn’t travel this summer. And that's just going away, not necessarily "checking out." About 25% of the Westin Hotels respondents said that they check into work every hour when they’re away on vacation. What a getaway!

Americans already get far less vacation time than the rest of the world, but does it matter? Signs point to yes. Vacations lead to higher productivity at work, lower stress levels, and are just good for your health across the board.

David Allen, best-selling author of Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and the Business of Life, is a strong advocate of the power of taking vacations as well. "I think productivity is always enhanced when you have the chance to evaluate your life and work from multiple horizons," says Allen. "Vacations help you from getting too far down in the weeds and provide an opportunity to refresh and restore."

I think I just saw a leaf fall. When you see them fall in a few weeks, will you be daydreaming of a long lost, or missed, vacation?

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