I can say that I plan to work 7 hours today, but how do I say I plan to "not work" for 2 hours?

"Be on a break/pause for 2 hours" or "Rest for 2 hours" doesn't work because I might take several smaller breaks.

"Not work for 2 hours" sounds too vague because I am referring to periods of rest during the workday.

Maybe, "I plan to take breaks that add up to 2 hours".

Any ideas?

5 Answers 5


You could pluralise break, or be a bit more specific:

  • Take two hours of breaks
  • Be on breaks for two hours
  • I shall take various breaks for two hours (or totalling two hours)


  • I shall do seven hours’ work between 0900 and 1800 hours.
  • 1
    "Two hours of breaks" or "Breaks totaling two hours" is pretty standard job lingo in the US. Well, two hours is unusual, but you get the idea.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Jan 1, 2013 at 13:20
  • Voted by mistake and could not undo. So sorry.
    – Elliot
    Aug 4 at 3:48

Downtime is used at lot of workplaces to denote the time when a worker is expected to work but is instead not working due to his choice or otherwise (system down or other unforeseen circumstances).

  • 2
    That was my first thought: downtime. When I'm not working, I'm down (unhappy). That's what happens when you're a workaholic.
    – user21497
    Jan 1, 2013 at 13:45

WordNet 3.0 cited in the Free Dictionary:

Noun 1. time off - a time period when you are not required to work; "he requested time off to attend his grandmother's funeral"

You would say:
"I plan to take two hours' time off."

Wikipedia notes time off and Paid time off (PTO) in AmE:

In the USA, Paid time off (PTO) is a feature in some employee agreements that provides a "resource" of hours that an employee can draw from to take time off from work, without having to specify a reason.

Note that the phrase is also used in a broader sense or in various contextual meanings, such as time when you are not at work or at school (Macmillan), a period when one is absent from work for a holiday, through sickness, etc (Collins), A break from one's employment or school, as in I need some time off from teaching to work on my dissertation , or He took time off to make some phone calls (dictionary.reference.com), and such other.


Take two hours of rest will cover a single extended period or multiple short breaks that total 120 minutes.


"I plan to spend two hours at leisure."

Definitions of "at leisure" from CollinsDictionary.com:

at leisure in American English

  1. having free or spare time
  2. with no hurry
  3. not occupied or engaged

Please note: "At leisure" might sound a little old-fashioned, or carry a whiff of the military. I investigated using Google and found no particular military association. "At ease" is similar and is most assuredly a military-associated term.

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