Travelling is one of my favourite things. I set myself a goal of reaching 30-by-30 visiting 30 countries by the age of 30 and achieved it by age 27. Not bad considering I didn't travel overseas for the first time until I was 19. I am always planning my next holiday, because the anticipation is almost as much fun as the holiday itself. I never ever have any annual leave accrued, I have to save it up between trips.
I feel so shocked and a little sad when I read that Australians have over 100 million days of annual leave just sitting there. That's 4 weeks per person! Other data shows that 27 per cent of employees have more than 5 weeks of annual leave accrued. (I fall into the 10 per cent of employees with absolutely no annual leave accrued.) And this isn't just a problem for Australians.
Since moving to Hong Kong, I've started to see annual leave as an even more precious benefit. The annual leave allowance here is much lower than in Australia and it doesn't accrue from year-to-year, it's a case of use it or lose it!
There are so many good reasons to take your annual leave allowance, so if you are one of those people with more than 20 days accrued I hope you read this list and then go book a holiday ASAP.
1.Recharge your batteries
Taking annual leave, especially if you work long hours in a high-pressure job, will give you a chance to rest. In our 24/7 society itâs so rare to take a break in our day-to-day lives. Itâs been proven that people become less productive without proper breaks. So take some leave! Go on a holiday or even just stay at home. Sleep in, stay in your pyjamas all day, lie on a beach, catch up on your reading list, whatever you do to relax. You'll come back to work feeling refreshed and you'll unleash a whole lot of productivity and creativity.
2. Go do that awesome thing youâve always wanted to do
You know how you always say youâre going to learn to surf, or go on a yoga retreat, or climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Go do it! Take your annual leave to go follow a passion and tick some stuff off that bucket list. Come back to work walking on sunshine with that feeling of achievement and see what you can turn that to at work!
3. Spend quality time with the people you love
Whether you go away together or enjoy a staycation at home, you will have so much more time to spend with your favourite people. My work colleagues are incredible people and I love spending 40 something hours per week hanging out with them, but taking leave and being able to spend that time with my partner, my family and my friends instead is absolutely magic. Don't you find that the world is always a little bit brighter after a drink and a laugh with your best friend? These are the people who keep us going on a daily basis, theyâre absolutely worth the investment of your time in keeping those relationships strong.
Don't just take my word for it, go book yourself a holiday. Not just a long weekend, I want you to take at least a week off. And don't spend that entire week off on your phone responding to emails. That is not a holiday! Take some time out, breathe, experience something new, spend time with the people you love and see how it will positively impact your work when you get back to the office.