We all need and deserve a break from time to time. Whether we're taking a break from our everyday life by going on vacation or taking a bleisure trip to change up our routine, time away from the office is important. It can help us reset and recharge.
When it comes to planning a vacation, we all know the best time to have some fun in the sun is during summer and the best time to go skiing is in winter. But what is the best day of the week to take off work? Here's why neither the dreaded Monday nor the beloved Friday are the best days to take off when you're trying to reconnect with your inner world.
Why Monday or Friday breaks are not ideal
When you want to extend your weekend a little longer, you schedule Monday off. Taking Monday off does have its benefits. It can make the work week feel shorter and let you enjoy Sunday with your family without that nagging feeling of having to go back to work.
When you want to jumpstart your weekend, you schedule Friday off. Friday has its own set of benefits like knowing that you get to start your weekend before everyone else and having your weekend feel a little longer.
However, in both of these scenarios, you may find yourself dreading the workweek ahead. If you're taking the day off on a Friday, you may feel stressed about finishing up your week and getting everything done a day early. If you are taking Monday off, you may feel anxious about what you are missing and what you will be facing come Tuesday morning.
As much as you'd like, it may be hard to feel refreshed and reconnected when you are taking time off.
Choose Wednesday instead
In an interview with Quartz, Dawna Ballard, a Communications Professor and Scholar of Chronemics, the study of time and communication at the University of Texas at Austin, said that research shows that Wednesday is the best day for taking a break.
Ballard explains that we measure our experiences through time and that it is structured by "pacers" that help us identify how we measure time. We have internal pacers such as considering ourselves early-risers or night owls and external pacers such as work deadlines or appointment times. Because we are all different, we all have different pacers.
Mondays are hard because we've been doing our own thing over the weekend. Fridays are also somewhat difficult because we are not disrupting our pacer. However, Wednesday is our mid-week chance to disrupt our pacer to get things done or recharge without using the weekend for cushion.
Benefits of Wednesday
Besides realigning with our pacers, Wednesdays also have their own benefits. When you know that you only have to power through two days before you get a break, you'll be more focused and productive. Plus you may have more options when you are available mid-week.
If you're planning on going to eat out, walking around the park, going shopping, or even visiting your doctor, everyone's either at work or in school so there's not a crowd. That's one of the main reasons I love taking a break on Wednesdays as well. A smaller crowd means I get to enjoy myself and my surroundings more.
If you have a business trip, aim to use Wednesday as a non-office day. I realize that may be difficult for many people, but using Wednesday as a way to break things up, especially if you've flown on a Sunday to be there Monday morning, will help make you recharge. I try to do this as often as possible.
Even though Mondays and Fridays are good days to take off when you're trying to take a mini weekend vacation, you won't feel rejuvenated like you would on Wednesdays. The next time you have a chance to take a day off, opt-out of the usual Monday or Friday and opt-in for a Wednesday instead for a more refreshed and productive week.