Doug Dvorak's Blog

Top 6 Signs You Need a Vacation

Do you have to drag yourself out of bed every morning to go to work? Or, find yourself wishing that something, anything would happen to prevent you from having to go in?


You might just be suffering from burnout and need a vacation. Every day, we arrive at work with the goal of making a positive impact and doing something that we can be proud of.


However, when we are all work and no play, and we don’t give ourselves a break from the demands of our careers, it can catch up to you in a hurry.


You may view your work ethic as your superpower but you need to be careful as overwork may just be your kryptonite. As you read this blog, consider these six important cues to see if you’re in need of a well-earned vacation.


  1. You are constantly irritable

    If the smallest thing can set off a torrant of negative feelings that leave you fuming for the rest of the day, it’s probably time for a break.


    Bear in mind, we’re not just talking about the person who cuts you off on the way to work, the new employee who botches a task or a computer that’s not running as you would like. We’re also talking about things like lashing out at loved ones when you’re at home.


    These are all indicators that you need to take some time off to recharge. After all, if you don’t allow yourself to experience life outside an office or a cubicle, then what are you working so hard for in the first place? Refuse to let anger control you, and instead welcome the joy and brightness that exists outside the walls of your workplace.


  3. Errors keep piling up

If you find yourself revising your contributions at work more and more often for no apparent reason, you should arrange a vacation as soon as possible. When we are anxious and agitated, we are more likely to make mistakes because we are fatigued or have an unconscious sensation of apathy.


When you shrug your shoulders at your lackluster efforts and promise to deal with problems later, your work performance may even deteriorate to the point where you lose your job.


Burnout makes it hard to make good decisions about the things you used to go above and beyond for. It tricks you into thinking you despise your job when really all you need is a break. Give yourself a breath of fresh air and you will return reinvigorated with your mind back in the game.


You’re sleep deprived


Why not swap the bags under your eyes for suitcases packed for a weekend getaway? Sleep deprivation seriously affects your appearance, makes you tense, and eventually erodes your health. You don’t live as long if you don’t get enough sleep, and if you continue to mistreat yourself, your body will ultimately shut down completely. Getting ill suddenly is a much bigger deal than just need to take time off work.


Think ahead and schedule your free time strategically. While there are certainly times when your presence at work is required, it’s important to remember that you’re still just a person with needs of your own that must be met before anything else.


Work isn’t enjoyable


If the dream job you lucked out on is steadily becoming your worst nightmare, it’s probably time to take a break. Every day, our jobs should provide us with pleasure, contentment an a sense of accomplishment. If you’ve lost sight of the big picture, a little time away might remind you of everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.


You keep calling in “sick”


Not only will your physical health suffer if you don’t take breaks, but your mental health can also nosedive. Your bosses may be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, but frequent, unannounced call-ins can harm your performance and your reputation. Additionally, calling in sick when you’re not really sick comes with its own stresses and you’re not doing anything to improve your mental health. In fact, you might actually be making it worse.


Again, strategically plan your essential time off so you don’t have to take unplanned time off when your brain and your will shuts down.


You’re a PTO hoarder


If you’ve gotten an email from HR informing you that you have a bunch of vacation time that is about to expire, you definitely need to take a break. It can be satisfying to watch your accrued time grow and grow, but that only means that you’ve been depriving yourself of much needed vacations.


Only you can determine when it is convenient for you to redeem your hard earned vacation time, but it is definitely something you need to do before it is too late.


Don’t forget, the United States is already the most overworked country in the world in terms of how little paid time off its workers get. That PTO is part of the package you negotiated when you took the job. You’re running yourself into the ground – literally for free – if you don’t use it.



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