It’s Time for a Day Off From Work!

day off

Have you ever taken a day off work to do nothing? Or taken a day off for no reason at all? Use vacation days for something besides the dream holiday (that never comes) or a visit to the doctor. It’s time to take a day just for you. You could call it a ‘Me Day’ instead of a vacation day. That’s what these women do – and they love it!

Why take a day off work?

A day spent enjoying my home town, doing what I want to do, completely recharges my batteries – Anne, Philadephila

Anne, a marketing specialist, uses her Me Day  to reconnect with things she likes to do, instead of those she must do. Normally, Anne spends most of her non-working time on ‘shoulds’ like ‘I should clean the house’ or ‘I should call great-Aunt Lucrezia’. She rarely spends that time on herself. So Anne uses a Me Day to focus on “I wants’ instead:  “I want to see that new art exhibition’ or ‘I want to picnic in the park.’ A full day focused on her wants reconnects Anne with the fun in her life. She goes back to work with more interest and energy. She calls it ‘recharging my batteries’

Unstructured ‘down time’ from work is good for your brain. Many studies show that your brain continues to process what you have learned and the problems you are trying to solve, even while you are doing something completely different. Yes, going shopping can be a way to solve some of your problems!

How to ask for your ‘me day’

Sound like a good idea? If you’re not sure how to make it happen, try Janet’s approach. Janet is a busy accountant in London, with lots of people relying on her every day.  She calls her Me Days ‘ Janet’s escape days.’ She uses them to escape from the constant stream of requests for help, and to get her perspective back. The first time Janet tried this, her manager kept asking her why she needed time off. She felt obligated to explain. Now Janet says ‘I tell my boss that I want next Wednesday off, and I don’t feel a need to say why. The reason doesn’t really matter. All that matters is whether I really need to be in that day. Since I pick the days carefully, that’s not a problem. I don’t check emails or answer the phone that day; my colleagues have learned to leave me alone, too.’

What to do on your day off

Now that you have reserved a day off for yourself, what should you do? That’s up to you! You can make a big plan, or not have any plan at all. This is not a day for your ‘to-do’ list. Just sleep till you wake up, and do what you feel like doing. There is no pressure. Go to the movies, take a walk around town or in the park, go to a museum or shopping, meet a friend you haven’t seen in a long time…it’s even OK to just sit quietly. Whatever you feel like, that’s the right thing to do.

woman alone train pixy

After your day off, go back to work. There’s still no need to explain or justify what you did. Just re-start your work. You will be more relaxed, have more energy, more patience for that colleague who was driving you crazy, maybe even a solution for that tough problem. All from one day off. Try it!



Marne Platt

Dr. Marne Platt is the President of Fundamental Capabilities and the author of 3 books (so far): Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way; Professional Presence; and PREP For Success. Originally a practicing veterinarian, she built a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. She founded Fundamental Capabilities to ‘pay it forward’ by providing career development workshops and coaching for women. ‘Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way’ is an ‘older sister in your pocket’ packed full of advice for young women on building their own independent and exciting life. 'Professional Presence' and PREP For Success' help you strengthen your spoken and unspoken communication and leadership presence.