Here's a sad statistic: last year workers forfeited 415 million vacation days they couldn't find the time to use. That's three days for every worker, reports Expedia. That vacation crunch could worsen, as more companies implement "use it or lose it" policies to clean their books of vacation-time liabilities in the face of tougher accounting rules. Sure, the work stacks up, but don't succumb. When you give up vacation time you've earned, you can get stressed out, work less efficiently and, worst of all, feel like a chump. If you can't carve out a full week to go away, try these ideas for spreading your leave throughout the year.

^ Take border vacation days whenever you have to travel on business. Extend the trip by a day at either end and hang out at the pool or go sightseeing.

^ Ask for three hours of "vacation" every Friday afternoon or Monday morning. That's eight long weekends.

^ Take one-day vacations on Wednesdays: Spend them at the day spa, the zoo, the dry cleaner, the couch. It may not be the Caribbean, but at least it's not your cubicle.