If you worked during the holiday, instead of taking a vacation, you’re not the only one. There’s a growing trend among American workers toward more strategic planning of vacation opportunities — taking advantage of every possible dollar and allotted hour to build a vacation experience that you and your family won’t ever forget.
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It may not be your first choice to work during the holidays. You may prefer to veg out, enjoy all the good food, and/or spend time with family and friends. It can even be a sacrifice — you may have volunteered to work, so your colleagues could have the time off. Whether you realize it or not, working during the holidays is actually a super-smart decision.
Here are five reasons why it’s smart to defer your holiday vacation time.
When you work part of your holiday time and spend the rest of the time with family, you have the opportunity to make the most of the time you do have.
Let’s face it. If you had taken the two full weeks off for the holidays, you’d be unlikely to take full advantage. While you’d probably have spent time with your family, you also would have been “zoning out to a Christmas special, playing on your phone, avoiding certain relatives or sneaking in a nap,” according to Inc. You might have even found that you were more tired when you returned to work than before you went on vacation.
By working, you’ve still been able to plan around those memorable experiences during the holiday. Did you bake cookies? Go to the festival of lights? You’ve likely participated in all those events and celebrations that mean so much to you and your family. Simultaneously, you’ve been planning your family trip for a non-holiday time — when you can spend time with them without all the stress and holiday chaos.
Even under the best of circumstances, holiday travel is chaotic, even dangerous, and it’s stressful too. So, you weighed your options. You’ve planned for the experience as well as the holiday; and determined that you can travel at a different time of the year. (After all, there really are so many reasons not to travel during the holidays.)
Instead, you’re planning to exchange the holiday days you worked for time spent on the beach. And, really, it’s not much of a trade-off or a very hard decision, since your holiday-travel vacations so often involve spending hours, even days, stranded in an airport or slogging through unpredictable and horrible weather?
If you’re wondering about the biggest benefit to this strategic thinking for the holidays, here it is. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on one holiday ticket, you have the opportunity to experience a once-in-a-lifetime destination — and with your cost-and-time savings, you may even be able to bring your family and friends with you.
The holidays also bring us to a time of closure. It’s the end of the year. It’s a time of reflection, analysis, and review. The holiday season and that precious work time gave you the perfect opportunity to take a collaborative approach to ensuring your success in the New Year, in an activity-based working environment.
Even if lots of your co-workers took time off, precluding the possibility of a full-team approach, you had the benefit of quiet time to think and plan. So, you’ve had the opportunity to map out your course of action for the New Year.
Not taking a vacation could be construed as self-deprivation in the pursuit of keeping one’s job — yep, that’s dedication. That fear may also explain why you don’t take all your days of vacation every year. (Really you may have lots of different reasons for avoiding vacation time. After all, you may not want to look like a slacker.)
So, while your dedication to your job may be part of the reason you didn’t take vacation time this holiday season, it’s important that you make time to take a break from work. As more and more is piled on our plate, it’s even more essential that you find ways to rejuvenate and refuel.
“Time away from work allows workers to recharge and regain motivation for their jobs. By taking a vacation, you can return to work with a fresh perspective and renewed energy, which can boost your productivity and effectiveness,” Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, tells Business Insider.
Hopefully, you don’t see it as a lack of vacation, but simply as a deferred vacation. After all, with planning and hard work, you’ve gotten to where you are today — at work, and in life. Now, it’s time to be strategic about how and when you spend that hard-earned time off.
Besides, holiday pay may give you a much greater return-on-investment than you realize. If you’re strategic about it, it might become more than a dream … and turn into the best gift you’ve ever given yourself.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you take a vacation every holiday season? Or, do you work, and plan an amazing vacation for later in the year? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.