Peak Performance Smarts: Vacation, Vacation!

“Take a rest: a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”
– Ovid

Peak performance requires action, focus and persistence. However, for peak performance to be sustainable over the long-term, regular rest periods are also required for the body and mind to refresh.

This is where Vacations come in.

While a Vacation is not a complete cure-all for on-the-job challenges and workload, it can definitely help with regaining energy, perspective and balance. For leaders in particular, perspective and balance are key attributes for effectiveness.

Peak Performance Benefits of Vacation

A quick review of cognitive and behavioral research findings highlights the ways extended down time – aka Vacation – improves on-the-job performance. These include:

  • Increased creativity and problem-solving. The “idle” mind continues to process mentally but without immediate demands placed on it.
  • Reduced stress/increased well-being. Relaxation improves sleep, mood and blood pressure levels.
  • Improved interpersonal relations and emotional engagement. Reconnecting with family and friends provides balance and reminds us of priorities and values.

Smart Vacation Action Points

If you have a peak performance mindset, then you need to be smart about Vacations for yourself, your team and your organization.

  • Make Vacations a valued norm. Say the “V” word confidently and positively.
  • Lead by example. Subordinates will emulate what you do in fact, not what you say.
  • Set a Vacation Protocol with a designated Number Two during your absence.
  • Limit work-related activities while you are out of the office. “E-mail with a view” does not a Vacation make.
  • Respect others’ Vacation time by limiting non-essential communications to them.

Bottom Line: Vacations are a high-yield investment in your professional effectiveness and success. Do what champions do to stay at the top of their game. Get outta here! Take a break.

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About the Author

Susan Battley

An advisor to Fortune 100 executives and world-class institutions for more than twenty years, Dr. Susan Battley is an internationally recognized expert on CEO and leadership effectiveness. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional service firms, and elite research institutions. She has worked with chief executives, university presidents, Nobel laureates, and prominent scientists, diplomats, and educators. A respected media source for analyzing leadership in the context of news-breaking events and key trends, Battley has been featured in outlets worldwide including CNN, CNBC, Fox, Bloomberg, and National Public Radio, and in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chief Executive, Business Week, United Press International, Harvard Management Update, Entrepreneur, Science, Leader to Leader, Investments, and Worth. She is the founder and CEO of Battley Performance Consulting, a leadership strategy and organization effectiveness consultancy.