You’re a busy body. Your life is mile-a-minute and you’ve been remarkably able to keep up with all of it. But you know you’re going to reach the end of your wick at some point – the only questions are when and what will that mean?
Don’t let yourself burn out. Don’t be a martyr for your work. You have a long, long way to go before the work is all done, and you’re not doing yourself any favors by going right to the next marathon directly after you finish the one you’re on now.
Just as you need to get good hours of sleep to be recharged for each new day, you need to take time off to rest and recharge mentally and physically before getting back on that horse.
Still feeling guilty about taking time off? Well, here are some examples of why it’s important to do it.
Walt Disney Almost Wasn’t Successful Due to Burnout
We all know Walt Disney as one of the most wildly successful businessmen of the last Century. You can’t turn on the television these days without flicking through one of the many television stations that his company owns. But his success almost didn’t happen.
According to Biography.com, Walt Disney had a mental breakdown after the early success of Mickey Mouse, and thought that he could not go on.
After years of eating beans and driving up his debts, Disney finally brought Mickey Mouse to life on film starting in the late 1920s and earned his way back to the top of his industry. But it wasn’t easy. Bankers rejected the concept of his famous mouse over 300 times before one said yes.Eudy Pak. “Walt Disney’s Rocky Road to Success”. Biography.com.
Even with the success of Mickey Mouse, Disney still faced challenges in keeping his business afloat. Not only was he overworked, but tensions with his employer — who eventually stole his longtime and best animator from him — led to Disney having a nervous breakdown.
After taking some time off with his wife to recuperate, Disney returned with a bold new idea: He would develop a full-length animation feature, which he’d call Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). It would become a huge success at the box office, yet the films that followed — Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940) and Bambi (1942) — would end up being duds.
Don’t let your best work suffer because you don’t have energy to realize your full potential.
Film Directors Post-Production Vacation
It is now a standard industry practice for a film’s director to be forced to take two weeks of vacation before stepping foot in the editing booth. But why?
The answer is two-fold: 1) it allows the post-production staff (the off-line editor) time to absorb the footage and come up with a rough cut without any director input and 2) it allows the director to detach themself from the work and the trials and tribulations of production before beginning an entirely new phase of work.
So, basically it’s just as important for the team the director is working with for them to take vacation time off. Keep that in mind the next time you feel like you’re too important to get away from your own work — sometimes it’s important to let the other people on your team shine for a little while, too.
It’s Scientifically Proven to Boost Productivity and Creativity
It’s hard to think that taking time to not work might help work get done faster, but it’s true. According to Psychology Today:
Sabine Sonnentag, professor of organizational psychology at the University of Mannheim in Germany, finds that the inability to detach from work comes with symptoms of burnout, which of course impact well-being and productivity. However, disengaging from work when you are not at work, she finds, makes us more resilient in the face of stress and more productive and engaged at work. Even a short weekend getaway can provide significant work-stress recovery, while longer trips away provide even more relief.
After a vacation, 64 percent of people say that they are ”refreshed and excited to get back to my job.” It’s a win-win both for employees and organizations alike, especially given the fact that unused vacation costs U.S. business $224 billion per year.
Many workers tend to specialize in their own field, and fail to explore new areas or diversify their interests. Yet research shows that being exposed to new and different experiences actually boosts your creativity. For example, one study showed 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.
Brain imaging studies show that doing nothing, being idle, daydreaming, and relaxingcreate alpha waves in the brain that are key to creative insights and innovative breakthroughs. And research by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity, has shown that positive emotions—the kind we feel on a relaxing, playful vacation—make us more inventive and able to think outside the box.Emma Seppälä Ph.D. “Three Science-Based Reasons Vacations Boost Productivity”. Psychology Today.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out of the office for a while! It’s good for you!