“Hi, my name is (State Your Name) and I am a workaholic”

This is a statement that many Americans can relate to this day and age. Of all of the countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States is the only member to have no paid holidays or federal paid annual leave policies in place. In comparison the UK has 20, Germany has 29, and France has 31! It’s a proven fact that a two week island getaway or even a quick trip to late night at Connelly will really help you unwind and reenergize. So why don’t Americans take more vacations, even if they have vacation time allotted to them by their company? Have we become a nation of workaholics who not only work to live but live to work?

Is it because we are trying to be more efficient and productive workers? As far as science goes, three variables are essential when trying to maximize productivity:

Practice efficiency- This is the variable which explains why we sometimes have ‘a case of the Monday’s’. Basically practice efficiency means that it takes a while after a weekend to get back into the groove of things.

Energy- This is a no brainer. Our bodies and minds get tired after the routine grind and we need to stay energized to keep going.

End spurt- This is the variable which I found most interesting. Think about it: do you work better on a Tuesday afternoon or on a Thursday afternoon? At least for me, knowing Friday is around the corner gives me that extra boost (end spurt) needed to keep going. We always try harder near the finish line.

Maximizing these variables is proven to give you more productivity, but is increasing our vacation time another possible answer?

Several nations in the OECD that provide large amounts of federal paid annual days also have serious economic problems (Portugal, Greece, Italy, and Spain).  Do you think it is related or unrelated to the amount of time off citizens are taking?