10 Ways to Ditch Work and Play Outdoors

A person relaxing in the sun with mountains behind.

Most of us have been there. Trapped indoors, staring longingly out a window at the beautiful blue sky, daydreaming about taking a running leap to crash through the glass and run laughing across a field of wildflowers. Or walking out the door and driving away. To each their own.

However, complications arise. You’re a responsible adult with a job. You can’t just run off and play outside when the obligations of a professional life demand that you stay. And as much as you might love the idea of quitting, that job pays for your car and your gas and all your outdoor equipment.

What can you do? Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get out of work! Here is a list to help guide your outdoor pursuits.

1. Call in Sick

A rotary telephone with a post it reminding you to call in sick.

The classic method of avoiding work can be perfectly effective, as long as you don’t use it too much. Also, if your employer finds out that you went surfboarding while supposedly sick, they might not be too happy.

To really sell it, spend the previous few days developing a fake cough. Not only will they be less suspicious, but they’ll probably be glad you aren’t going to keep spreading your imaginary germs all over the office.

2. Family Emergency

Tell your boss that your grandmother in the Bahamas is on her deathbed, and take off for a week. Just be careful to keep any pictures and updates off your social media accounts. Also, it helps if you actually have a grandmother in the Bahamas. This excuse can backfire spectacularly, so you may want to keep your story vague and unprovable, and more believable than the Bahamas.

3. A Pet Emergency

An English bulldog puppy with pink water bottle on head on white background.

Perhaps you could claim to have a camera set up at home to monitor your dog from your work computer, and that you just saw him get trapped under a bookshelf he knocked over. This is slightly less prone to backfire than a family emergency unless your boss knows you don’t even have any pets.

4. Use a Vacation Day

To remain honest and avoid sabotaging your job, use vacation days as they’re meant to be used. It may seem anticlimactic to use up a single vacation day at a time, but if you really need a break in the middle of the week, it could be very refreshing.

5. Have Meetings Outside

People sitting around a meeting table in the outdoors and under the sunshine.

If you can convince everyone else to go along with it, try having meetings outside for a nice compromise. Your coworkers may insist that they are allergic to just about everything that exists in the big scary world, and they may cling to their air-conditioned offices and comfortable leather chairs, so a bribe of something delicious like donuts may be necessary to lure them out.

6. Telecommute

A young woman sitting in the grass telecommuting with a laptop.

Telecommuting, as we all know, allows for more flexibility in your job. Commutation, in legal terms, is exchanging something of a greater amount for a lesser one, such as a punishment or a monetary fine. Or in more general terms, it’s a substitution of one form of payment for another.

So if those two words had a baby together, it might have something to do with telecommuting for the purpose of exchanging a cubicle for the comfort of home or trading some wages for the freedom to run across fields of wildflowers.

7. Extra Travel Days

If your work takes you to interesting places like Hawaii, and you have some power over the dates of travel, try tacking on a couple of days more than the trip really needs and turn it into a miniature vacation. This could be especially effective if doing so means cheaper plane tickets.

8. Alternating Schedule

If you want more time off than just weekends, you might try asking for an unusual schedule such as taking off every other Friday. You might make less money if you’re an hourly employee, but it’s more time for playing outside.

9. Build up Overtime

For those who have overtime options, putting in a lot of overtime may give you the freedom to take more time off in the future. Think of it as putting hours in a fourth-dimension savings account. Plus it has the added bonus of earning more money to offset the cost of taking time off.

10. Play Around with Shifts

Similar to overtime, if you get some choice about what shifts to work, take an intense schedule for half the week and get the other half off. Just make sure you get enough sleep, or you might spend all your hard-earned free time in bed, dreaming about the great outdoors instead of actually getting out there.

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