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Does perfect fulfillment require perfect attendance? Does David Beckham ever tell himself, “If I have to take another day of playing the sport I love, modeling my perfect body for a gazillion dollars, and then hitting the sack with my international fashion icon wife, I am going to scream!”? Does the Dalai Lama sometimes wake up, stare at the ceiling, and think to himself, “Ugh. Enlightenment again? I’m taking a mental health day.”

I bet they do, at least with respect to their work. Any job, even self-employment, involves obligation, and any obligation must someday, at the very least, clash with the human urge to exercise free will. When you add into the mix multiple conflicting aspirations, personal and family commitments, short-term challenges at work, and fatigue, it is inevitable that everyone at least entertains the notion of playing hooky.

The idea is not necessarily a bad thing. A break in the routine or an opportunity to pursue something different can be both restful and energizing, making you more appreciative and productive at work in the long run. The key is finding a way to take one day off without being one day off. Stepping away from your obligations could be disastrous if it causes you to miss a deadline or neglect a timely responsibility. For that reason, it is always more salubrious to take planned time off.

True, that doesn’t address the human urge for spontaneity, nor the occasional true emergency. There are, for example, too many people who drag themselves in to work with a cold, when they really should stay home not infecting their colleagues, because they overestimate the significance of their workplace obligations. If your job or someone’s life is not on the line, then stay home when you need to! But if you don’t need to, then try not to give in to the transitory temptation to take time off – take your psyche’s hint and prepare a well-planned hiatus instead.