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Vacations Are Good For Health And Productivity, Study Finds

Vacations Are Good For Health And Productivity, Study Finds

We live in a busy world, full of distractions. And finding some me time and peace during the chaos of the day isn’t an easy task anymore. But without taking breaks and resting properly we can’t work effectively. In fact, we can’t get anything done, focus or even get closer to our goals.

That’s because being busy and tired all the time prevents us from turning our brains off even when it’s time to relax, we can’t sleep well as a result of that, and become depressed and stressed over time.

But there’s a solution.

Vacation time allows you to experience physical and emotional benefits

You may have many things on your to-do list and truly want to do your best job and feel accomplished in the end of the day. But you also want to stay healthy and be on top of your game. That’s why you’re in need of a vacation. Once you’ve dedicated all your time and energy to work and daily tasks, though, leaving them for a while doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. You may think that things will get out of control, or that you’ll be left behind and will have to hustle even more after that.

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But these are minor issues considering the actual benefits of vacations. Because, believe it or not, they are great for your health and productivity. Here’s why:

1. Taking a vacation helps you reduce stress.

There’s nothing like leaving the stressful environment of your daily life and entering a new world, full of excitement. The study carried out be American Sociological Association shows that a bigger number of vacations leads to a decline in the psychological distress of people. And when the average worker takes more vacations per year, that becomes a beneficial determinant of population health.

2. Vacation frequency is related to mortality.

According to another study on whether vacations are good for our health, “The frequency of annual vacations by middle-aged men at high risk for CHD is associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality and, more specifically, mortality attributed to CHD. Vacationing may be good for your health.” While this study discussed middle-aged men, this works for all people! Whether you are a hard-working student or a few years from retirement, you deserve a vacation.

3. It helps you grow spiritually.

One of the most important aspects of having a vacation is that you get to know yourself better. You learn new things throughout the journey, but you also experience changes on the inside. And once you get back to reality, you can benefit from these by trying new techniques to be more productive in life and in business, for example.

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4. You improve your mental health.

It’s great for your brain too. Seeing new places and putting yourself in an unfamiliar environment are great for expanding your horizons, but it also improves your thinking and creativity.

5. Frequent vacations lead to a happier marriage.

The Wisconsin Rural Women’s Health Study says that females who get vacations more often are not only less depressed and have more energy in general, but are also more satisfied with their marriage.

6. You connect with nature.

According to a study from the University of Exeter Medical School in Britain, being closer to green space improves your mental health right away, and that effect can be sustained for longer. All these are great. And people who frequently travel (even if it’s not abroad), live a much happier life and are more productive.

But then there are those who really can’t afford to take a vacation. Be it because their work is too demanding, are starting a new job, have many things to take care of at home, or else. However, there’s another, even simpler, solution for them. It doesn’t require going away for a vacation, but it does offer similar benefits.

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How to Take a Break When You Can’t Get a Vacation?

Action One: Unplug

Falling asleep with devices around you is one of the reasons why you can’t have a good night’s sleep. It’s also why you can stay awake in bed for hours, and wake up in a bad mood as a result.

So, avoid any technology at least an hour before bed. It may be the only time in the day when you’ll unplug completely, but it will lead to great changes. Set some limits and you’ll soon double your productivity.

Action Two: Have some me time

A great way to avoid burnout at work is to make sure you have some time just for yourself daily. The best choice, and the easiest to start doing right away, is to wake up a bit earlier than you currently do, and use that time to have a pleasant morning ritual. You may journal, read something inspiring, meditate, listen to music, or just drink your coffee slowly and do nothing.

Be sure that this little practice will soon become your best habit. It’s sacred time and no one can take it from you. Dedicate time to it daily and you’ll be less stressed throughout the whole day. You’ll also handle problems at work easily and will generate ideas quickly.

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Action Three: Meditate

It doesn’t need to take long. It may be just sitting still for 2 minutes and trying to empty your mind. That’s all there is to this simple practice, but the benefits are amazing. You increase blood flow, slow the heart rate and eliminate stress. It also improves your immune system and memory. So give it a try.

That’s how you can be relaxed, productive and healthier without having to take a vacation.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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