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by Derek Loosvelt | October 10, 2019

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Paid time off isn't just a benefit to be used for weeks at the beach; it's also there for you to use when you need a one-day break from work to reboot. And there's no shame in needing to take a PTO day to refresh and re-energize. After all, when you re-energize, you increase your productivity. That is, if you just keep going when you really need a break, you'll be doing yourself and your employer a great disservice. And so, if you find yourself experiencing any of the below, it might be time to take a personal day.

1. You're perpetually tired—in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening.

Do you find yourself tired day after day? Are you sleeping only a few hours a night? Are you sleeping poorly or not at all? Do you need six cups of coffee just to make it through the day? If so, you're probably overtired and likely not working at your best. And that means you need to reboot and take a PTO day, relieving you of the pressure of having to get up at a certain time so you can sleep in. It also relieves you of the pressure of having to work so you can get to bed early—without a workday's worth of stress on your mind at night. That is, taking one PTO day allows you to potentially get two nights of better sleep. And that should, hopefully, get you back on track at work.

2. You're negative most of the day.

It might be hard to notice when your negativity is caused by being overworked or by something else, but if you find yourself in a perpetual nay-saying mode—you're continually huffing and puffing in your mind, you're nearly always frustrated, you're constantly critiquing other people, especially your coworkers and managers—then it's probably time to take a PTO day. When you haven't had a break in a while, it's easy to get overwhelmed and fall into a negative state of mind.

This is why so many people have found just a few minutes a day of mindful meditation to be beneficial; it's a way to reboot and reset your mind, which, when cluttered with to-do lists and projects, can short circuit pretty easily. So, think of a PTO day like one long meditation that, every once in a while, you need in order to reset your mind and come back to your work and your workplace a little clearer and calmer—in a state of mind that will help you work as productively as you can.

3. You're unable to keep up with your basic household chores.

Is your apartment a disaster? Are the dishes piled past the faucet? Is the floor of your bedroom invisible because clothes are covering it? Are you late paying your bills? Is your driver's license expired? Can you not remember the last time you made yourself something to eat at home, even a piece of toast?

If you answered yes to any of these questions (or could answer yes to any similar questions), then don't be afraid or ashamed to take a PTO day to get your house, apartment, flat, etc., in order. You might think these are chores you should be able to take care of without having to take a PTO day, but what if you've been working nearly seven days a week, answering emails at all hours of the day and night?

You also might think you won't necessarily be more productive if you take care of all these household chores, but you will. Chores and errands weigh on our minds, without us realizing it. They take up space in our brains that otherwise could be used for productive, creative work. So do yourself a favor and take a PTO to make a dent in cleaning up your living space and taking care of the basics. You'll find that, if you do, you'll return to work in a much better head space.

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