10 Signs You Definitely Need a Day Off

When deadlines and opportunities abound, it's really hard to take a day for yourself. But sometimes, the signs you should are overwhelming. See if these describe you.
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When was the last time you took a day off? I mean really took a day off: unplugged from your laptop, turned off your phone, and stayed as far away from the office as possible for a full day. Even if good things are happening and you have the privilege of doing what you love, the stress can add up and your productivity can drop way down.

That's when simple mistakes can cost you far more time than the 24 hours you might spend relaxing and recharging. Don't put yourself and everyone around you at risk of cleaning up a big mess you may create. If you are showing several of these 10 signs, it probably means that you're due for a little break. So take it, and be at the top of your game again.

1. When asked, "How are you?" you say, "I'm really busy!"

If you have lost your ability to engage in simple social niceties, it probably means your brain is overfocused on work. A rest will help you look up and remember that the people around you are positively or negatively impacted by the first impression you give.

2. You are always tired.

If a good night's sleep or hour or two of TV doesn't help you recharge, more drastic measures are necessary. Being constantly tired could mean something is wrong physically as well. If being tired becomes your standard excuse for not doing, going out, working out, or hanging out, take a day or two of physical and mental rest so you can prove to yourself you still have the ability to properly regenerate good cells.

3. You haven't gotten to the bottom of a to-do list in over a month.

If you are rarely completing your tasks, then most likely the approach you are taking to your workload is flawed. A one-day rest might give you the perspective you need to find more efficient paths to completion.

4. You haven't been to the gym or played outdoors in six months.

Physical activity is crucial for the mind and the soul, let alone the body. The more sedentary your daily life becomes, the less energy you will bring to your work and your relationships. Take a day and go take a hike if you want to live well and live long.

5. Your idea of a vacation is coming into the office at 9 a.m. instead of 7.

It's bad enough if you don't take a day of rest, but if you are working extended hours as well, you are stretching a rubber band that will eventually break. Find productive ways to manage the workload in reasonable time. A business model that relies on people putting in 16-hour days is doomed to failure from the start.

6. When asked, "What do you do for fun?" you can't remember.

When was the last time you actually went and had a nice day with fun activity? Whether you golf, ski, kayak, or enjoy museums, you need some endorphins to give your brain and emotions a lift.

7. You're sad to learn your favorite restaurant closed down...three years ago.

You deserve a little elegance in your life. But rushing out to dinner after a hard day's work is like trying to cram a delicate soufflé in your mouth after wolfing down a fast food burger. Plan a day of decadence in which you can relax, smell the flowers, and enjoy a long meal where you can be pampered.

8. You're on a first-name basis with everyone on the late-shift cleaning crew.

Burning the midnight oil is fine once in a while, but if you are there every night, then something is wrong with your approach. Go home and take a break so you can reassess your situation and begin to delegate those tasks that never should have been on your plate to begin with.

9. You start taking your dry cleaning straight from and to the office.

You have to go home sometime. Perhaps things are so bad at home that you should really take a day and address whatever is really causing you to sleep and dress at the office.

10. Your family greets you with "Excuse me, sir/ma'am; are you lost?"

The sarcasm may all be in good fun, but it's also a way the people you love can try to tell you something truthful without hurting your feelings. It's only funny because it has truth in it. Give your family members the attention they deserve for supporting you and let them know that they are worth an uninterrupted day of your time.

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IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Aug 5, 2014

KEVIN DAUM | Columnist

An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies and the executive producer of Amilya! on 77WABC New York. Sign up here and never miss out on Kevin's thoughts and humor.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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