I’m only days out from a family vacation, and I’m so excited to unplug for a bit. Time away with family is something I value to my very core. It’s part of my life’s harmony as it’s needed for me to get back in the hustle and grind of it all.
In that spirit and with the study data provided from TSheets.com (thanks again!), I thought I would talk a bit more about time off and how people view it.
TSheets.com recently polled 100s of employees and questioned them on their thoughts/values concerning time away. In the question, “How much PTO did you have left last year?” 70% of people said they did not use all of their PTO. At first, this number didn’t surprise me considering, according to the study, the majority of people get somewhere between 6 – 20 days per year.
However, my state of surprise quickly changed when I got to the stats around this question “Why didn’t you use all of your paid time off last year?”
**44% of people said they were too busy**
Yikes! When I hear this massive number of people are too busy to take time off, I can’t help but wonder is that really accurate? I mean, I believe that people believe themselves to be too busy, but I question if they actually are that busy.
Here’s why I ask. When I first entered the workforce, I quickly noticed that “busy” was a brag-worthy phrase. Q:“How’s work?”, A:“Busy” seemed to be the casual small talk with people. They would wear it like a badge of honor.
Double yikes! If you are not interested in leaving for a vacation, that’s one thing, but if you are too busy for time away, that’s a problem that should be solved. I have interacted with a lot of people who have claimed to be “too busy, ” and it usually boils down to 3 reasons. All of which I have helped people sort out, and I’d like to share some of my advice regarding each.
- My supervisor won’t let me – Evaluate your values. If your company gives you PTO as part of your benefits package and you are denied when it’s time to collect, then you don’t have PTO. If this is a problem, I have 2 specific actions. First, talk with your supervisor about your value system and see if there is a way to get to the desired outcome. Don’t just demand their approval, but state that there is a problem and you would like to solve it together. If that does not work, strongly consider looking elsewhere for employment. In a world where 52.3% of Americans are in a job that makes them unhappy, it can be tempting to endure. Don’t. Life is too short not to be happy at work. Get your happiness.
- Everything would fall apart without me – Nope. No, it won’t. Your team and company can handle a week without you. If you are the only person who can do your job than your top priority is to start training someone immediately. When my son was born, I wasn’t able to take the amount of time I wanted due to some criticalities of my position. From then on, I started training a team member to step into my position when I’m away. They sat in on all of my meetings, got to know all my relationships, and learned all of my processes. I made the process voluntary and pitched it as a way to develop leadership skills in ways not usually available to the day to day work. Now I have two of my team of 7 that can step in for me when I’m away. I made it a priority.
- I’m too busy, but it’s for interesting reasons – Hey, more power to you on this one. The best way to not use PTO is when you don’t want to. I do want to throw caution your way. Bingeing anything is always bad. If you believe yourself to be working on something very important, you owe that “thing” it’s best shot at success. Sometimes that’s with rest. Even if it’s a day. I usually have my best ideas when I am traveling because you get to immerse yourself in different cultures and perspectives. I recommend finding a way to escape. Everything will benefit.
I know that I’m speaking in very black & white terms. These are just the 3 I hear most of the time. If you are someone who finds themselves in a situation where they are unable to take the time they value, think of it as a problem to be solved like any other. Don’t be a victim. Make this a priority because, as I have said in many other articles, time is a non-renewable resource. Time has real value. Don’t waste it being unhappy.
If you have any insight or advice to share, please leave them in the comments below. I would love to hear from you. If you want to talk about a problem you may be experiencing in this area, feel free to reach out to me on social media. I’m here to help.
Special thanks again to TSheets.com for providing me with their research data. They offer a great time tracking software that’s designed to allow you to analyze where time goes. If you think you are too busy all the time, this might help you diagnose the problem.