With one of the biggest U.S. holidays, Thanksgiving, on Thursday, many people will be traveling to visit with families. If you’re working today, and most of this week, you’re smart – as I’ve talked about before, the best vacation strategy is to work when everyone is away, and spend your vacation days on days you’ll be escaping from actual work.

I don’t even work in an office, yet I’ve already had two out of office messages from people I work with at various companies – they’re already on vacation.

Of course often you don’t get to choose when to spend vacation days – if the family tradition is to meet back in your hometown at your folks place on the day before Thanksgiving, well, you’re stuck.

But if you have a choice, stay in the office on those extra days when everyone is away. You’ll be more productive than you will on a typical day, and you’ll save that vacation day for a time you really need a break.

Especially in the U.S. where we get some of the fewest number of vacation days in the western world (Europe averages about 40 days, U.S. 13 days).

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9 Responses to “If you’re working this week, you’re smart (Vacation strategy part 2)”

  1. Josh |

    And that’s why we’re the most productive nation on earth, and Europe is… well… Europe.

    Reply
  2. Scott |

    I’ll take quality of life over productivity any day.

    I admit it’s not that simple – more vacation days doesn’t magically give you higher quality of life, but it sure helps.

    Reply
  3. Percy |

    Sometimes, productivity can be lower during vacation times, especially in jobs where you have dependencies on others. You may find working on those days counter-productive.

    In general though, I agree that most people would tend to be more productive.

    Reply
  4. Manrico |

    Well… an italian vernacular poet once said that “statistics says that we eat a chicken each, but we both know that the rich guy eats two while the poor none”. Or, to quote Disraeli (and Twain): “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”.
    That is to say: I don’t know where the figures about vacation in Europe come from, but I can hardly get 15 days here in Italy… and since I’m a contractor worker vacation (and sick) days are not accounted into my wage, too.

    Reply
  5. Buck |

    I find that certain things are done more productively, but as Percy mentioned, if you have some dependence on others, you’re stuck.

    Plus, those of use who have children don’t have a lot of choice of when we can take vacation either.

    Western Europe isn’t as productive, but it’s fairly productive, and most European office types seem pretty happy with the arrangement.

    Reply
  6. Pedro |

    That’s why I love being European, work should be a part of life, not your life!

    Reply
  7. jason |

    the us is not the most productive country in the world. productivity as measured by GDP/hours worked shows the most productive countries as norway, france usa, benalux. in that order. us is number 3. workers in norway and france are smarter in how they use their hours in the office. great idea on working this week – totally agree.

    Reply
  8. ziv |

    Well, I am from Israel.
    We work full time this week.Our holidays are in different days. So, I have got confused today.
    why? my blog traffic today start tanking..10-20% from the usual stats.
    So, I guess people are not in the mood on reading articles on career and stuff.
    cheers

    Reply
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