Tricks to maximize your paid time off from work

Do you ever feel burned out from too much work? Or perhaps you are suffering from the mid-winter blahs? Long winter weeks have many people like Joel Caithamer dreaming of getting away.

“Sometimes you gotta go when you can,” he said. “We have been lucky the past couple of years, just beating the rush.”

Nicole Landis, taking a midday break at Ft. Thomas Coffee, wishes she had time for a beach or island trip right now.

“Just to get out of the gloom and get some sunshine would be nice,” she said.

Many people rarely take vacations

A vacation could be the answer for them and so many of us. Unfortunately, every year, thousands of vacation days go unused. Pew Research reports nearly half of American workers use less time off than their employer offers and that lost time off has serious negative effects.

Human resource management system isolved found that 65% of employees experienced burnout last year, with 72% admitting the experience impacted their performance.

Casey Carr, vice president of Sharon Carr Travel, encourages his employees to use all their vacation time, even if they don’t leave town.

“Everybody needs a break. And I think your work benefits when you have time to recharge,” he said. “You don’t have to go jump on a cruise on your time off. You can just kick back at home with your family.”

How to maximize your days off

He compiled a calendar of the best ways to make the most of your time off.

“Almost every year, it’s possible to have up to 50 days,” Carr said, assuming you earn 15 days of paid vacation and get federal holidays off.

He explains you can extend your time off by scheduling your PTO around holidays (such as Presidents’ Day) and lengthening your weekends into mini vacations.

“Throughout the year, it’s possible to make three- and four-day weekends almost any month,” he said.

Carr says you won’t regret taking your time off strategically.

“Use it all, use every second of it, go on a vacation, and go see another part of the world,” he said.

Nathaniel Wells does just that. Afterward, it makes him appreciate being home much more.

“I go away all the time; I travel a lot,” he said. “But I love getting back to the city.”