According to Project Time Off, more than half of Americans left vacation time unused in 2015. That is time our employers are paying us to be out of the office…and not working. It seems silly to let that go to waste, so why do we do it? There are a wide range of answers – everything from our workaholic office culture to money. Whatever your reason is for not taking advantage of all your vacation time, it’s time to change that! Why? Here are five reasons why it’s time to put in for PTO, pack up a suite case and hop on a plane:
Recharge and Renew
Physically and mentally, there are amazing benefits to taking time off! The Journal of American Medical Association states that men who take frequent annual vacations are 32 percent less likely to die from heart disease than those who did not take vacations.* Our mental health and happiness levels also greatly benefit from time away. In fact, countless research tells us vacation helps prevent depression.
Learn How to Delegate    
Delegating is a surprisingly difficult skill. It’s tough trusting another person with your projects, even if you know your teammate does great work. Stepping away from the office forces you to learn and get comfortable with delegating while empowering another teammate to prove him/herself by taking on your work. Win-win! After your time off, you’ll find it easier to share responsibilities instead of overloading yourself.
Punch Up Productivity
If you’re getting irritated by your cubicle neighbor’s every move, making silly mistakes and/or procrastinating, you’re nearing burnout and probably not getting a lot accomplished. Taking time off will ease these little tensions and help you become productive again.
Broaden Your Perspective
When all you do is work, work quickly becomes your world. That spirals into getting caught up in the day-to-day bumps that arise, taking your relationships for granted and losing sight on what’s important.  Those are not the ingredients for a star employee. Take a step back, travel and experience different cultures. It will open your eyes and make you a more well-rounded person. Your office is only a tiny, tiny part of this world – remember that and see the rest!
Bolster Your Work Performance!
Fact: Ernst & Young found that employees scored 8 percent higher in performance reviews for every 10 hours more vacation they took the past year.** Better performance review = potentially bigger raise = more money for travel! Sounds like another win-win to me!
Vacation time is a luxury too many people waste, and the consequences for doing so are very real. Even though we’re more than half-way through the year, make a 2016 resolution that you will not let your vacation time go to waste!

*”Health Benefits of Taking a Vacation,” Huffington Post, March 4, 2016
**“9 Reasons To Take A Vacation ASAP, According To Science,” Huffington Post, Aug. 28, 2014