We love reading blogs on productivity research, but one of our running jokes is how each article gives you a list of three more things you have to be doing to be successful. You read three articles and you now have nine more “to-dos” each day. But the conclusion of this article and all of our research isn’t complicated: Go on vacation. If you take all your vacation days and plan ahead for trips, you will increase your happiness, success rate, and likelihood of promotion, and you’ll lower your stress level to boot.

So here’s one easy takeaway for you: Go away.

Break out the sunscreen, plan out your road trip, decide between a relaxing beach holiday or an invigorating week hiking through one of our gorgeous national parks- doesn’t matter! It’s time to get out of the office. It’s summertime, and that means it’s time to take a vacation!

HBRdogpoolOr rather, that’s what it meant in 1978. Unfortunately for many working Americans, vacation time seems to be slowly going the way of the dodo and the passenger pigeon. American workers are taking approximately 1/3rd less vacation time than they were taking in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and the decline shows few signs of reversing course. Our more technologically advanced and uber-efficient workplaces have not translated to having more free time.

Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan over at Harvard Business Review lay out of the case for taking that free time, for your own personal good as well as the good of your business or place of work. Of course, not all vacations are created equal. To really get the full benefit of time off, HBR recommends:

…if you plan ahead, create social connections on the trip, go far from your work, and feel safe, 94% of vacations have a good ROI in terms of your energy and outlook upon returning to work. Just make sure you plan the trip at least a month in advance, as one of the key predictors of vacation ROI is the amount of stress caused by not planning ahead….

Read more here!

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