The VacationCounts philosophy is that time off matters and a healthy work-life balance is essential to happiness in life (and work). When told by your employer that you are only allowed to take a set number of vacation days each year, your natural belief is that vacations cannot occur outside of these scheduled and approved blocks of time. While taking a family trip to a beach destination or traveling to a national park over the summer meets the typical definition of “vacation”, I subscribe to a broader meaning that captures the true purpose of the word vacation.
|Looking up “vacation” in the Merriam Webster dictionary online yields four definitions that back up this point; describing vacations as an “intermission”, time during which activity is suspended, and a period spent away from home and work in travel or recreation.|
Vacation (va · ca · tion) \vā-ˈkā-shən, və-\
Improved Definition: Time spent away from work engaged in a chosen activity that results in feelings of happiness.
For those of you work a typical business day shift of 9 to 5, or 8 to 5, or 8 to 6 or perhaps 9 to 6, a lunch hour is an essential but often neglected part of a full day. Grabbing a bag lunch that you brought from home and eating at your desk tells yourself and your co-workers that nothing is more important than working non-stop, even if it results in diminished productivity. Too many hard working individuals seem to have forgotten the art and excitement of going out for lunch and enjoying life, if only for an hour. Even an employee whose day is filled with meetings and fires only they can put out will find that taking a proper lunch hour once or twice a week is something worth putting on your calendar. You will quickly realize that the benefits flow back to your employer as well, in terms of reduced stress leading to a better attitude, smarter decision making, and higher productivity.
Here are my easy to follow bullet points to taking back your lunch break as vacation time:
By redefining what it means to take vacation time, you can experience the positive effects of a vacation throughout the year and even in the middle of your work day. Like “real” vacations, choosing to go on vacation during your lunch break makes use of the same planning skills. Researching, imagining, discovering, and deciding upon a place to go or an activity that will lead to happiness is part of the enjoyment. Write down your lunchtime vacation ideas as they come to you and create a reminder for yourself to consult this list weekly. By doing so you will be able to schedule and block out time on your busy work calendar and make all the necessary arrangements to enjoy a memorable and well-earned vacation over lunch.
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