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The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

July 25, 2022 • Issue 22:07:02


Take a good, long break

Vacation. It means different things to different people. For some, sticking near home for what many call a "staycation," catching up on a few home projects and taking day trips to local attractions is just the thing. For others, adventure is what brings them alive. And that could be scaling Half Dome at Yosemite or "glamping" in a rented tent so plush it's like being at a five-star resort in the woods.

We're now in the midst of summer in North America, a time when people traditionally take their allotted time off. Yet with Americans working longer and longer hours and being always available 24/7 anywhere in the world, vacations are becoming more fantasy than reality. And for entrepreneurs, like so many professionals in the payments sphere, it's hard to let go even for just a few days.

There's always something urgent that needs tending. Plus, with inflation cutting into travel budgets and uncertainty about when the next COVID wave will hit and how virulent it will be, many are scaling back or postponing their time off. I strongly believe, however, that neglecting our need to take breaks from our work lives, both physical and mental, is shortsighted and not in our business or personal interests.

Benefits to time off

In "Why You Should Take More Time Off Work," published in Greater Good Magazine, Emma Seppala, Ph.D., wrote, "Ironically, while Americans may pride themselves on their hard work and dedication, research suggests that we will actually work harder, perform better, and have greater health, stamina, and enthusiasm for our work if we take time off." She listed the following key benefits to vacations:

  1. Vacations are relaxing and good for your health. Scientists from UC San Francisco looked at the impact of a resort vacation and a meditation retreat on biological measures and immune function, and found that resort vacations had an immediate positive impact on stress and immune function and meditation retreats boosted antiviral activity.
  2. Breaks make you more productive. Citing the work of Sabine Sonnentag, a professor of organizational psychology at University of Mannheim in Germany, Seppala wrote that, according to Sonnentag, disengaging from work when away from the office "makes us more resilient in the face of stress and more productive and engaged at work." This is true, she added, even for short weekend getaways.
  3. A change of pace boosts creativity. Seppala mentioned a University of Utah study, which found that "hiking in nature disconnected from all devices for four days—a very unusual experience in our day and age—led to a 50 percent spike in creativity."

Countries highly influenced by the Protestant work ethic, such as the United States, place great value on industriousness, unlike countries like France, which are influenced by Catholicism, a salvation-based religion, Seppala noted.

So if you live in the United States, taking all of your vacation days might be a challenge. It's sometimes easier to just work on rather than handle planning, delegation and doing without your smartphone for an extended period. But if you want to stay on top of your game in the payments sphere, vacations must be an integral part of your mix. end of article

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