When career experts discuss the importance of work-life balance, many executives interpret that as cutting back on overtime, turning off business phones after hours, and refocusing on family on the weekends. Work-life balance isn’t just about juggling personal and professional responsibilities, however; a balanced executive devotes time to mental and emotional health, too. High profile professionals habitually keep late hours, running down their drive and decreasing their long-term productivity. As summer approaches, it’s important to remember that vacations are necessary, not just to personal satisfaction, but to creating a successful career.
How Overworking Decreases Effectiveness
Most professionals feel that unconscious urge to work harder, stay longer, and produce more. A competitive drive propels careers forward . . . but it can also burn them out. Consistently working overtime creates a sense of internal chaos, making executives feel like the job is never done. Executives who overwork themselves have decreased creativity, motivation, and problem-solving skills, leading to long term declines in productivity.
The Importance of Taking Time Off
Many executives feel like they’re wasting time when they take PTO with no clear reason. “My child is receiving an award,” may feel like a just cause for leaving the office at 5:30, but, “I’m exhausted” rarely does. Countless studies, however, have shown the benefits of taking vacation time without smartphones or work tablets. Taking a week or two off each year–or even each quarter–allows the mind to rest, the body to rejuvenate, and mental faculties to sharpen. Upon returning home most executives find themselves working at a significantly faster pace and producing higher-caliber work; most of them never even realized their productivity had declined.
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