With many of us wishing and hoping to retire young so we can live with more freedom, see the world, or maybe just sleep for the first time in years, you would think we would be more likely to use up all of our personal vacation time. But surprisingly, according to a 2014 Forbes article, only 25% of workers use their full vacation time! 60% of the people polled say that they have worked during their vacation, and 20% have heard from their boss while on vacation.
So why are workers not using their vacation time? The same Forbes article explains: “Thirty-three percent of respondents are afraid no one else in the office can properly fill in for them. Another large group, 28%, fear that they’ll fall behind. 17% are afraid they’ll lose their jobs, 17% fear they won’t meet their goals, and 6% said they were afraid of the boss.”
As valid as these reasons are, it's still important to take time for yourself or the burn-out will become the real problem for your job. Taking time off doesn't have to be weeks at a time. Just a day here or there to relax could be just what you need.
We wanted to give you advice on how to best use your vacation day:
1. Don't set the alarm.
This is the one day you don't have to be productive! So unless you're a morning person, let yourself enjoy the sleep you often lack. You don't need an alarm on your day off, but you DO need sleep.
2. Eat a fancy breakfast or brunch.
On your work days, it's likely you don't get up early enough to make yourself a nice breakfast. You probably grab a granola bar or a piece of toast on your way out the door, or maybe your breakfast consists of coffee only. So plan a nice breakfast on your day off! You can get ingredients the night before or head to a fancy restaurant for brunch. In that case, invite a few friends to tag along.
3. Only plan one activity.
If you jam your day full of fun activities, your time will fly by and sooner than later you will be back at work! So pick one fun activity and leave it at that. This can be going to see a movie, shopping, working out, meeting up with a friend, or something else you enjoy. Just try to limit yourself so you don't burn out by running from one activity to another.
4. Check something off your personal to-do list.
There are certain places that aren't open during work hours such as government or doctors offices. Do you have a trip out of the country coming up? Use this day to schedule your passport appointment. Did you have care packages planned but never get around to dropping them off at the post office? This could be the day! And if you have a doctors appointment you need to schedule, get that out of the way too. Sometimes what we need to feel a bit lighter is to get our personal checklists completed instead of just our work responsibilities. This takes the burden off of us so we don't have to sit at work wondering when we will have time to get to our personal checklists.
5. Plan a DIY project.
Maybe your house doesn't look exactly the way you hoped, and after a long day of work you don't feel good about going home. There are half-done projects everywhere, clutter in the corner, and mismatched decor. Well, today could be your day to tackle ONE of those projects. Transform a small part of your home on your day off, but don't take the whole day! Remember, this is supposed to be a positive transformation, not a draining or time-consuming one.
So now that you know what to do on your day off, it's time to schedule your vacation day!