Have you ever had one of those days when all you could think was, "Gosh, do I need a vacation."

Of course you have — all work and no play isn't good for anyone. A vacation doesn't have to be two weeks on a tropical island or even a long weekend at the beach. A vacation just means taking a break from your everyday activities.

Everyone needs a vacation to rejuvenate mentally and physically. But did you know that you can help boost our economy by taking some days off?

An analysis by Oxford Economics for the U.S. Travel Association found that more than 40 percent of U.S. workers don't take their full allotment of paid time off (PTO) during the year, representing an average of 3.2 unused vacation days per worker in 2013 — a total of 429 million workdays!

Unused vacation days have a negative effect on the U.S. economy. The study estimated that if employees took full advantage of their PTO days, the economy would enjoy the benefits of more than $160 billion in sales and $21 billion in tax revenues, as well as supporting 21 million jobs. Workers taking just a single additional day off would boost spending by $73 billion.

So go ahead and take some vacation. It's your patriotic duty. You can detach from work and enjoy the break by following these simple steps:

• Notify co-workers and clients. Let bosses, customers and colleagues know you'll be on vacation at least a week before you take off. Let people know how long you'll be out of the office, when you'll be returning and who they should contact in the meantime. Set an auto-reply on your e-mail, and change your voice mail.

• Prepare your co-workers. Talk to the people who will handle questions or problems while you're away.

• Straighten up. There's nothing as unmotivating as coming back from a great vacation to a workspace in complete disarray. Ease the transition by cleaning before you leave.

• Get your mind in gear. A friend usually downloads a photo of his destination for his screen saver a couple weeks before vacation. It reminds him to enjoy the rewards for his hard work.

• Turn off your electronics and explain you will be available for no more than 15 minutes a day unless the place is on fire.

• Trust the people you work with to carry on.

Mackay's Moral: Vacations aren't luxuries, they're necessities.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail harvey@mackay.com.