For the past 10 years, the American Psychological Association has conducted an annual survey on stress and predictably, work is cited as one of the primary sources. It’s not surprising considering the expectation to be available around the clock and the information we’re forced to wade through daily on top of our actual workload. Whether in a corporate environment, self-employed or even a student who’s facing the daunting task of entering the professional arena, stress from work can takes its toll affecting our physical wellness, emotional stability and even negatively impacting productivity and creative thinking. Fortunately—since most of us can’t avoid work—there are tangible ways to combat stress, one of which is simply tapping into that bank of vacation days you’ve accrued and getting away from the office. The American Psychological Association concludes that vacations work to reduce stress by removing people from activities and environments that tend to be sources of stress.
Increasingly, companies are recognizing the impact stress has on employee health and productivity so many employers are implementing policies to encourage staff to take vacation time. While it may seem counter-intuitive to take time off to be considered a more effective employee, a study called “Project Time Off” found that 84% of managers agree that when employees take time off, they return to work with improved focus and creativity. Based on research conducted internally at audit firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young), employees who used more vacation days ended up with better performance reviews. Maryella Gockel from EY says, “In the U.S. and Canada … for each 10 vacation hours a person took, we found on average that performance reviews were eight percent higher.” Similarly, when Boston Consulting Group experimented with mandatory time off, they found that employee work actually improved.
The Power of Time Off
Time off is also necessary to make room for innovative thinking and creative breakthroughs. Wondering what Instagram, Dropbox and the musical, “Hamilton” have in common? All three ideas were conceptualized while on vacation. In an interview with Forbes, Bryan Mattimore, author of Idea Stormers: How to Lead and Inspire Creative Breakthroughs, said, “Vacation is one of the few times, especially if someone has a full-time job, to be able to think deeply about a subject and create something new.”
So now that you’re convinced to start planning your next getaway, the first step is to make sure you’re not just moving your office to the beach, but creating a true separation from work. Though it’s customary to bring a laptop or tablet with you, the temptation to check email and get sucked back into the work cycle is high, eating into time for restoration. Still, you never know if that next big idea will hit while sitting poolside so you want to be prepared. One option is to bring an old-fashioned journal so you can take notes or sketch out thoughts. However, your ability to quickly share these ideas with a colleague or easily search through notes is limited. Fortunately, Bamboo smartpads combine the ease of writing on a notepad with the benefit of digital technology.
With the Bamboo Folio and Bamboo Slate you can easily capture, shape and share your ideas without the added distractions of a laptop or tablet. These smartpads offer a natural handwriting experience pairing a pressure-sensitive surface area with a regular notepad. With the touch of a button, you can save your notes digitally (up to 100 pages locally, or sync files to your tablet or smartphone) so you can access, edit and share your work from anywhere. With a variety of compatible apps, including Bamboo Paper, you can mark up documents, add annotations or quickly search through text. Inkspace, Wacom’s cloud solution, which is fully integrated into Bamboo smartpads, offers even more functionality like handwriting to text conversion and turning a sketch or diagram into vector files.
Both the Bamboo Folio (which comes with a protective cover) and the Bamboo Slate are lightweight and portable whether you travel with a backpack or a carry-on. They come in two sizes to accommodate full-size (A4) and half-size (A5) notepad paper and boast a long battery life so you’re ready to capture ideas wherever inspiration strikes.
Along with eating right and exercise, vacation is another important step to living a happier, healthier, stress-free life. Taking time off away from work allows you to relax and create the space in your mind for insights that may be just beneath the surface. With a Bamboo smartpad, you can easily capture those ideas that bubble up when you allow yourself to daydream. And you just may find that your quality of work improves when you return—just as long as you book that flight back!