Let’s be honest, if you’re reading this right now, you’re probably trying to look productive but are instead screwing around on the internet. And even if you are a good worker bee, there are times when you just can’t handle being in that halogen-lit cube for another second.

excuses to miss work

Ahhhh … the great outdoors. Isn’t being out here better than sitting at your desk? Here are five fail-proof excuses to miss work and get outdoors. Photo: Courtney Baird

Unfortunately, most of us only get two weeks a year of vacation. So, if your two weeks are used up and you’re still aching to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and exercise, here are five fool-proof excuses to miss work.

Food poisoning

excuse to miss work

What to do when your fail-proof excuse to miss work pays off? Go to a mountain biking clinic. Photo: Courtesy of Kochneva Tetyana/Shutterstock

Light food poisoning is the be-all, end-all in fake excuses to miss work and get outdoors, because light food poisoning doesn’t leave any real physical evidence behind.

When you come back from food poisoning, all you have to do is clutch your stomach a little when your boss is looking, or maybe put on some extra-pale foundation and skip the mascara to make yourself look like you haven’t eaten for a few days.

However, if you use a nasty cold or bronchitis as an excuse, then when you come back to work, you’ll have to bring real physical evidence with you, like a still-wet cough or a still-slightly-runny nose. This sort of physical evidence is difficult to fake, and when you do a poor job of it, your boss will become suspicious.

Estimated duration of effectiveness: two to three days. Perfect for a mountain biking trip.

Mental anxiety over impending life event

excuses to miss work

What to do when your excuse to miss work pays off? Explore the waterfalls of Havasu Canyon. Photo: Courtesy of Travis Burke

I once had a coworker fill me in on a brilliant scheme of hers to get out of work and go traveling. She told her boss that she was feeling a lot of “mental anguish” about an upcoming life event (so insert “getting married,” “impending baby,” “last kid going off to college” here), and that she was having trouble focusing and needed to take some personal time.

Most bosses don’t want to touch mental issues with a 10-foot pole, so her boss was happy to oblige. Plus, the great thing about “mental anguish” is that, like food poisoning, the excuse doesn’t leave any physical evidence behind. So it’s not like your boss will be looking for those Kleenexes in the trash that you’d be throwing away if you came back from a legitimate cold.

Estimated length of effectiveness: one to two weeks. More than enough time to go check out some epic waterfalls.

Whatever you do, don’t say sick kid

Excuses to miss work

Visit one of America’s great natural landmarks, like Horseshoe Bend, when your excuse to miss work pays off. Photo: Courtesy of Travis Burke

Our general policy about fake excuses to miss work is to never fake something that you’d feel truly bad about if it actually happened. It’s a karma thing.

This is why you should never say that your kid is sick, or that you had a great-aunt die or something awful like that. Trust us, you don’t want to play with karma here.

Food poisoning and a little light mental anguish aren’t too bad, so if karma slaps you in the butt for these lies and you actually come down with the ailment you faked, you won’t be too sorry. Plus, you’ll have a great adventure outdoors to happily look back on as you entertain yourself between runs to the toilet. It will all be worth it in the end. Again, just trust us on this one.

Estimated length of effectiveness: negative seven days (you’ll be punished with seven days of real sick leave, which sucks worse than sitting in your cube on a blue bird day). However, what to do if you come up with a better excuse than a sick kid? Explore one of America’s great natural landmarks.

Kid suspended for swearing

excuses to miss work

Horseback riding is a great option for playing outdoors when your excuse to miss work pays off. Photo: Courtesy of Fotokostic/Shutterstock

I grew up in a household where swearing was allowed. My dad was a Navy SEAL who swore like the sailor he was, so he felt like a hypocrite whenever he told us not to swear. He did tell us, however, not to swear outside of the house or whenever company was around, and we were generally pretty good about following this rule.

But, of course, sometimes the F-bomb slipped out, and that meant we got in trouble for swearing a few times at school. So, if you’re looking to play outside on a week day, just tell the little white lie that you have to pick up your kid from school because he’s being sent home for saying the F-word.

To make it more believable, show up to work for a few hours and then get a fake phone call from an ally who’s in on the ruse.

Estimated length of effectiveness: one to two days, depending on how strict your kid’s school is. Regardless, that’s enough time to go on a horseback riding adventure.

Car troubles

excuses to miss work

There’s nothing like a good run on a trail to help you forget your office woes. Photo: Courtney Baird

Car troubles are a good excuse, but they do offer some potential karma blow-back. So when you do lie about car troubles so you can get a head start on that three-day weekend, make sure you make up something that would legitimately prevent you from driving to work but that wouldn’t be too expensive to fix.

A broken belt has personally worked for us in the past. If you have a really suspicious boss who asks you to produce receipts for the car maintenance, just tell them that your friend is a mechanic and he did it for free.

Estimated length of effectiveness: one day. Perfect amount of time to go trail running.