Want to Increase Your Productivity? Take a Vacation.

Posted on January 7, 2015

It is officially summer, and many of you are looking forward to that much needed vacation. Not only is time away from the office important for your personal life, but taking a break is beneficial to your professional life as well. “Most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation, even if it is a 24-hour time-out, Francine Lederer, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles.

Studies have shown that time away from the office can actually be a productivity booster. Just as small breaks improve concentration, long breaks replenish job performance, says Derek Thompson, senior editor, The Atlantic. A number of research studies have shown that productivity decreases as we move beyond 40 hour weeks. Here are a few ways to consider improving your productivity while you are waiting for your next getaway:

  • Planning your vacation. Research shows that anticipating a trip often makes people happier than the trip itself. You can get the benefits of a vacation more times during the year by taking shorter vacations, more often.
  • Walking Outside. Taking a walk outside on a beautiful day can relieve stress, improve your focus, make you happier, and give you more energy. Regular walkscan enhance the connectivity of important brain circuits, combat age-related declines in brain function and improve memory and cognitive performance, reported Buffer editor Courtney Seiter.
  • Exercise your eyes. With more time in most jobs requiring using a computer, it is important to provide breaks for your eyes. If you look at a screen most of the day, your eyes could use a rest. Use the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a break for at least 20 seconds and look at objects that are 20 feet away from you.
  • Walk Inside. Get up and move around in your office. You’ll find that taking the time to walk down the hall every hour or standing during a conference call can actually help you stay on task better.

We mistakenly believe that more hours will always increase output, while ignoring the clear evidence: The secret to being an effective worker is not working too hard, according to Derek Thompson in The Atlantic. Whether you take a week’s vacation, or a 20 minute stroll, make the time to step away from your work and give yourself a break.

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