Last Updated on January 6, 2024 by Dave Schoenbeck
Burned out at work? When was the last time you had a vacation? According to a study conducted in the previous year by Project: Time Off, Americans take less vacation time than at any point in the last 40 years.
Until 2000, American workers took an average of 20 days off each year. Since then, the numbers have steadily declined, with just 16 vacation days taken on average in 2015.
This is a worrying trend, both for the population in general and businesses themselves. Taking time out of the daily grind is essential for an individual’s health and state of mind. Workers risk feeling burned out at work by skipping this downtime and are in danger of damaging the companies they are working so hard to support.
How to Prevent Feeling Burned Out At Work
There are many reasons people fail to take a vacation and feel burned out at work, some natural and others manufactured. Here are a few of the most common anti-vacation myths and how to fix them:
Myth #1: The “I’m Irreplaceable” Syndrome
Many people do not take a vacation because they believe tasks won’t be completed in their absence. They often worry they will return to a mountain of work or think no one else can do their job functions. This applies especially to small business owners who are concerned that sales will grind to a halt if they take time off.
How to Fix It: Concerns about leaving the office can be remedied by ensuring you have systems to cover work. Define these systems by analyzing every role in your organization and document critical processes that must be done. Each process can then be assigned to colleagues, employees, or contractors.
Myth #2: Vacation Affordability
Another explanation people give for being unable to tear themselves away from work is that they lack the funds to take a vacation. When we think of taking time off, it often conjures up images of lying on the beach, cocktail in hand.
How to Fix It: It’s important to remember that vacations take many forms. The most vital thing is to give yourself a break from the hustle of work. Taking a week off to spend on a “staycation” involves going on long walks, reading books, or the fun things near home that you never take the time to do. These may not cost anything and could do just as much for your mental well-being as a trip to an exotic location. If you can’t get away for a week, schedule long weekends or Mental Health Mondays.
Myth #3: The “Dedication” Myth
Some people think they’re committing to their business by not taking a vacation. To a certain extent, whether this is true or not will depend on the particular business and industry you’re working in.
Despite this belief, most forward-thinking people (both employers and employees) are unlikely to think that a work obsession is a desirable quality to have in a team. They’ll recognize the importance of work-life balance in a well-rounded individual.
How to Fix It: Remind your workers (and yourself!) that taking breaks helps rejuvenate them and allows them to reset and focus their minds. When they return from their vacation, their productivity will improve.
Though certain myths lead us to believe taking a vacation is selfish, you can prevent feeling burned out at work by taking regular breaks. Ensuring the wheels don’t fall off in your absence involves clear delegation and organizational systems.
Schedule a complimentary coaching call with me if you need help getting your business in shape to allow some time off. I worked with a client who couldn’t find time to vacation for 11 years. After we worked on training his team to handle his duties, he went on a two-week vacation, and he was thrilled that the business ran well without him. That can be you!
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