Do you feel tired, irritable, or uninspired? Your job may be to blame. A recent study by LinkedIn shows that when people don’t take time off, they end up feeling overwhelmed, disorganized, and less creative. Professionals surveyed say they feel three times more motivated after a getaway, which proves that unplugging for a bit really is the trick to crushing the long-term game at work as you build a successful career. LinkedIn career expert Blair Decembrele has more to say. “Professionals today are spending 90,000 hours of their adult lives working, which is half of their waking hours as an adult,” she explains. “With so much time spent at work, we’ve been looking into what people are really in it for, along with how they identify personal success. When it came to what’s holding them back from achieving it, taking time off was a notable factor in overall career achievement.” Though Decembrele agrees that unlimited vacation policies can be helpful in helping employees handle their workload without restricting time off to certain times of the year, she believes that making the most of time away requires more intention.

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1. Heighten your hustle. Did you know that 71 percent of people have a side hustle, and 40 percent say they have used PTO from their full-time job to focus on it? Decembrele suggests making use of the ability to take time away from your nine-to-five for more than just tropical vacations or heading home for the holidays. “Take time to amplify your passion project — you’ll get the creative juices flowing!” Not only do more than a third of people find happiness and success by pursuing something on the side, but dedicating time to your interests outside of the office can help your mental health too.

2. Give back. Volunteering is an awesome way to spend time away from work, so consider using your time to mentor, take a philanthropic adventure, or get involved with your local community. An added bonus, Decembrele says that two-fifths of recruiters also consider volunteer work just as credible as paid experience when sourcing and evaluating candidates. To top it off, nearly 90 percent of professionals agree that success isn’t defined by what you accomplish — it’s about what you inspire others to do.

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3. Catch up. A busy schedule can make it tough to keep current with industry news and updates. “Staying up to date on what’s trending in your industry can only help you advance your career,” Decembrele reminds. Take time to do nothing but brush up on the latest, tune into your favorite podcasts, and update the tools and software you use regularly.

4. Treat yourself to a digital detox. “While most people say career success is spending time with their family and disconnecting from work, nearly 70 percent still admit they don’t disconnect while on vacation,” Decembrele points out. “Take a digital detox to unplug and spend time with family and friends and experience the world outside of your office. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of your job, so don’t forget the value your vacation will bring back to your workplace.” Take your detox to another level by holing up in a quiet place or booking some off-the-grid accommodations.

5. Focus on learning. Sampling new skills calls for time and focus, which aren’t always available during the workweek or over a super-social weekend. “While you don’t need to become the founder of a startup overnight, think about what excites you outside of your nine-to-five, and learn something new,” encourages Decembrele. “Professionals today are not just in it for the title; almost 90 percent feel that skills are even more important than job titles! Use some of your time out of the office to take online courses or creative classes that can help you expand your skill set and ignite inspiration.”

How do you use your days off? Tell us on Twitter @BritandCo!

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