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Last Updated on October 2, 2017

Why Staycation Is the New Vacation for Every Travel Lover

Why Staycation Is the New Vacation for Every Travel Lover

Everyone loves a vacation. I get it. But have you noticed that vacations aren’t always the most rejuvenating experiences?

We usually go on vacation to relax and experience something new and fresh. And sometimes we choose to have a fun-filled trip – perhaps packed with adventures.

However, if your main purpose for taking a vacation is to get some well-deserved rest, then you may be disappointed. Just think of all the preparation and planning that must go into every trip. As an example, here’s what most people would need to do to organize a typical 7-day trip:

1 month preparation – consisting of planning/arranging the trip. 2 days of long driving, bus, boat, train or air traveling. 1 day to tackle jet lag caused by the trip. Several hours within the trip packing and unpacking stuff. 4 days where you can really enjoy your vacation.

After returning home, you may need several hours to unpack your stuff. And… another day to deal with jet lag. Then a few days later (or immediately after), you go to work, feeling even more exhausted than before the holidays.

What’s abundantly clear, is that the time spent on planning and traveling drains your personal energy. Booking flights and hotels, packing, unpacking, traveling time, etc, all deplete your mental and physical energies.

Vacations are nice, but if they can also be an energy-killer, is there an alternative way to spend our spare time?

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Yes, there is. It’s called staycations.

The Oxford Dictionary describes staycations as,[1]

“A holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.”

Staycations offer similar things to what vacations do (e.g., relaxation, refreshment, experiencing new things), but because they don’t involve long traveling, they cost you a lot less. It’s not just financial savings, you’ll also cut out the time and stress of planning, that typically make up the preparations for a vacation.

Let’s take a look at the great things about taking a staycation.

Give you almost 100% of restful time with little to no prep

Stop to consider the following: the ratio of quality time that’s spent on relaxation is more important than the number of days for holidays.

If you give this some thought, you’ll realize that it’s true. For instance, a weekend break that consists of long travel on either side is no recipe for relaxation.

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This is one of the reasons that staycations are more refreshing than vacations. They act as genuine breaks from work and life pressures. Instead of losing time and energy preparing for a vacation, a staycation will provide you with high-quality resting time.

Pause for a moment, and just think of all the effort that goes into the typical vacation… long travelling, packing/unpacking, jet lag, etc. As I mentioned earlier, a vacation can leave you more tired than before your trip!

Fortunately, a staycation is not at all like that. You’ll get back to work feeling more refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated.

A vacation may only offer around 50% of relaxation time, while with a staycation, you can count on almost 100%!

Fresh experience just around the corner

Staycations also tick some of the same boxes as vacations like experiencing new things, you just need to explore nearby things which you have never paid attention to.

Often we over look the attractions that are near to us, choosing instead to spend big amounts of money to visit foreign countries. However, if you make an effort to explore the area close to where you live, you may be pleasantly surprised. There will be cafés and restaurants you’ve never tried, historic buildings you’ve never seen before, and nature parks you’ve never visited.

Notice the phrase “you’ve never” in the above sentence. You may have convinced yourself that to see new things you need to travel overseas. But with a little effort on your part, you’ll be able to experience new and exciting things close to home.

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Make old place feels new and amusing

Even for places you’ve been to before, a new mindset will bring you new experiences. A little twist to what you do and how you do it can bring a new experience to the place where you go often.

For instance, you may normally drive past a canal on your way to work and think nothing of it. However, on your day off, why not drive to the canal and take a walk alongside it? You may be amazed by how the sun glistens on the surface of the water, how colorful the canal boats are, and how much beautiful wildlife has made their home by the canal.

It’s the same with local parks. Maybe you usually just walk pass them, why not try taking advantage of their space and greenery? You could picnic there, play with pets there, or just relax and watch the activities of others.

And if your village, town or city has a central square, try grabbing a coffee, sitting in the square and simply watching the world go by…

Different times, days and seasons will have their own unique flavors. For example, Friday evenings may be more of a time for couples, Saturday mornings may be family-orientated.

Whether you choose a park bench, or a seat on the veranda of a café, the fresh air and daylight will be a potent combination in boosting your energy and well-being. You don’t have to spend the time people watching, you could just read a book, listen to music, or simply close your eyes and enjoy an inner peace and quiet.

Ideas to make your staycation exotic

Struggling to think of things to do on staycations? Don’t worry, as the list I’ve put together below will give you plenty of ideas.

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Take a different seat when you go to the same old place.

We’re all products of our habits. We get out of bed on the same side, we have the same breakfast, we leave the house at the same time, etc. While habits are useful for getting things done, when it comes to breaking free from our stresses – it’s good to try something different. One of the easiest ways to do this, is to choose a different seat or table when you next go to your regular café, restaurant or bar. You’ll get a different view, and a different experience.

Visit your usual places – but at a different time.

As well as trying out different seats, when not try different times too? For instance, if the only time you ever eat out is in an evening, perhaps it’s time for something new. You could join your work colleagues for lunch, or even arrange to meet some friends for breakfast. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could even organize a midnight feast!

Bring different people with you.

If you love walking to the top of hills and mountains, but you usually choose to do this alone, next time – bring along some friends. Not only will you have good company to talk to during your adventures, but you’ll be able to share your joy of walking through nature with your friends. They’ll benefit, and you will too.

Try something new in the usual place.

It’s easy to get into a routine of doing the same in the same place. But you’ll provide yourself with a welcome boost by trying new stuff. For example you can try this in a restaurant you go usually. If you normally order a coffee, try an iced tea instead.

Book yourself on an ‘activity day’.

For example, you could book yourself onto an ‘activity day’ at a place local to you. How about a day learning the basics of rock climbing? Or maybe a day experiencing whitewater rafting? And if animals are your thing, you could book a day course on learning how to ride a horse. These are just a few suggestions, and I’m sure, with a bit of research, you’ll be able to find dozens more exciting activities to experience.

Still want to have that vacation?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fantastic to travel to exotic places and to experience different cultures. Diving in warm, clear blue seas, or skiing down sun-drenched mountain slopes, may not be adventures that you can do close to home.

However, when your kids, work and financial pressures have left you feeling stressed and exhausted, then a staycation could be just the ticket you need.

You can forget about weeks of preparation, say goodbye to security checks at airports, and instead, say hello to peace and quiet. Ultimately, staycations are the ideal way to restore and revitalize your mind, body and spirit. Try one and see for yourself!

Featured photo credit: Kaboompics via kaboompics.com

Reference

[1]Oxford Dictionary: Staycation definition

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Brian Lee

Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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