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Help for the Vacation-Deprived

Experts explain why many Americans aren't taking advantage of the vacation time they're entitled to.

5. Set boundaries, and stick to them.

If you absolutely must work during vacation, figure out a schedule that will limit your connectivity to work. Make sure it is a set time -- say, for a half-hour at 9 a.m. When you are finished, Erwin recommends leaving the BlackBerry, cell phone, or laptop at the hotel.

6. Draw the line ahead of time.

Limits need not be set just during vacation. It's important to communicate what people can expect of you during the regular workweek. If you are normally available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it is difficult for both you and colleagues to shift gears when you take time off. Discuss when people can expect to hear from you, and make sure they and you respect the boundaries.

7. Work on your personal life.

A satisfying home life can help a person approach work with energy and enthusiasm. Having someone support, appreciate, and admire you outside of the office can help give you a boost on the job. "Relationships need to be nurtured for both a personal sense of satisfaction, and for the ability to function on a high professional level," says Weaver.

Remember it is quality, not necessarily quantity, that matters.

While it is ideal to have a full week or two off from work, it may not always be feasible, and there's still the rest of the year to deal with. Weekend getaways are also good for rejuvenation. So is an hour to yourself during lunchtime or a few hours on weeknights. When it comes to forming family and social bonds during your time off, it's really about spending quality time. Friedman suggests, "Clear an hour to read to each other, or to go to the park to look at a sunset."

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Reviewed on August 25, 2008

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