3 Red Flags That Show You Need a Work Timeout


The University of South Florida published a 2011 study in 2011 highlighting work productivity. On average, Americans get 14 days of vacation but use about 10. Those unused days over 5 years is equivalent to a work month.

Work productivity impacts us all. As civil servants, we are a customer-focused team.

To be transparent, I am on the tail end of a week-long vacation. During my trip, I had time to relax, refresh and recharge.

With the end of the summer approaching, it may be time to unplug from work and its demands.

3 signs you need a vacation

1. You’re making too many work mistakes

Everyone makes them from time to time. Wires get crossed, assumptions are made, or work distractions affect outcomes. The result could have lasting impact on your credibility and the agency’s bottom line.

Ask yourself – Did you have realistic expectations? Could you have delegated part of the task? Were you “multitasking” , and did not complete any task successfully?

It’s best to acknowledge your mistake, apologize, and try to correct it in the future.

2. You’re cynical about work

Some work days are better than others, but our attitude about work can navigate our day. Negativity can manifest itself in unlikely ways.

Cynicism can be contagious. Venting regarding a situation is normal, but if it’s a reoccurring problem-it becomes a problem.

Check your motives when you have those conversations. A vacation can could help you get out of the circling drain of cynicism.

3. You’re not physically well

Merriam-Webster defines stress as a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.

Real or perceived stress can take a toll on our bodies. WebMD reported that we’re designed to handle small doses of stress.

However, our bodies may suffer consequences in long-term situations. Headaches, muscle tension, sleeping problems are some physical signs.

Time off work could become a medical necessity.

If traveling is not in your budget, a quick day trip or stay-cation may suffice.

Chances are you will be glad you took the time off – and so will those around you.

Camille Doty is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Christina Smith

Excellent post, Camille! Thanks so much for writing this. I’m glad you got a well-deserved vacation this week! I need to remember to look for these red flags and make sure to stay rested and re-fueled myself.

Camille Doty

Thanks Christina for commenting on my post. Finding work-life balance is an art. I’m back at the office today, but still glowing.


It is shocking that people don’t take all of their vacation days. You make a great point that even if you can’t leave town you can still take a break from work. Excellent point Camille.

Yolonda Radford

Camille your post could not have come at a better time. Being able to help others as well as myself identify the red flags is very helpful. With govt. being an ever changing business, one can easily become frustrated, get burned out and forget to take care of self first. Thanks for reminding me ( I will tell others) that a stay-cation can be as beneficial as a vacation. It’s all about reflecting on your current position and getting re-charged for the next task at hand.

Camille Doty

My time away helped me to explore my creativity because I wasn’t pressured by time. I would like to make the most of my weekends even when I don’t go on vacation. After my Florida trip, I decided that I want to take swimming lessons. I enjoy the water.

Barbara Adamson

I’ve been taking a day off here and a day off there–making 3-day weekends for a couple years. I saved a lot of vacation time and I thought the 3-dayers were enough, but I found myself getting stressed an anxious at home and at work. Turns out it wasn’t until I finally took a full 3-week vacation that I got the mental break that I needed and had the opportunity to bond with my family.

Camille Doty

Barbara, I’m glad you realized what you needed and made the adjustment. That’s great. Thank you for reading my post and responding.