The “No Vacation Nation” — Health & Productivity in America

42% of Americans took zero vacation days in 2014. This statistic is troubling. If you are working everyday, when do you get that “me time” that everyone talks about? When do you plan to spend time with the ones you care about most? The no vacation nation that we live in hinders our health and happiness inside and outside of the workplace.

We have all heard the cliché, “Money doesn’t buy happiness” — well, it doesn’t, but it can certainly help you get there. When you have finally worked your way up to that VP or executive position, it’s no surprise that stakes get high, and vacation days are few. We all know that there are deadlines to meet, however, it’s time for Americans as a whole to take a breather, even in those high-profile jobs if they are to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of not taking time off to seem like a hard-working, promotion worthy individual, but the reality is that being effective while at work is more important than the amount of time spent there. Ironically, people who take all of their vacation days are 6.5% more likely to get a promotion. The reason for this is because taking vacation days leads to happier workers. Breaks will actually make you more engaged and maximize your time while in the office.

There are only 24 hours in a day. Being able to manage your time between work and life is an important skill to obtain, regardless of how high your title is. In that time that isn’t spent at work, it’s important that one leaves the work mindset there. This means no checking e-mails while at a family dinner or running out on a movie to take a business call. 37% of parents find it difficult to leave business in the office — and are therefore missing out on quality time with their children.

If you are lucky enough to already have that high-profile job, learning to be an efficient leader will constitute satisfaction within the workplace and in your personal life. Delegation is key. Don’t be a leader who leads by doing all of the work. Take advantage of flexibilities, be realistic, and have a positive attitude.

Some of these tips are easier to follow through with than others — it’s your job to maximize your time within the office so that you can enjoy your time with your family and friends. Start by focusing on how to make yourself productive and happy.