By Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro
When I first read that the average American worker left 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012—three more than the year before!—I was shocked, but not surprised. Even in the waning days of the Great Recession, workers were still overstretched. They worried about taking all the time they were owed, lest they be replaced with hungrier workers while gone. Even today, half of us expect to work during vacations, and a third of us eat at our desks.
It might be nice to return to the old days, when office life seemed easier, but I doubt that will happen. The business world is normalizing at a new level, one based on agility, speed, flexibility, and on-the-spot execution. This means that things will never be the same, and we have to adjust to that.
However, that doesn’t mean the change will kill us. In fact, most indicators suggest we have the opportunity to become more creative and productive than ever, just by taking it easier on ourselves. That assumes, of course, you can figure out how to dial it down again, especially if you’ve become an adrenaline/caffeine junkie who feels nervous and useless when not furiously busy.