Scheduling Downtime

Our culture is obsessed with productivity.

Because of this obsession, many of us find it difficult to believe that scheduling downtime could possibly add value to our lives. We're convinced that more is better, and to rest is not responsible. 

With that said, I believe that for many of us, busyness has become a form of laziness that has stopped us focusing on the things we truly value; things like family, health, passion and contribution. We've forgotten that from time to time, we need to rest so that we can see more clearly what our next move should be.  

When I say rest, I don't just mean not checking your emails on the weekend. Instead, I mean setting aside at least two weeks on your calendar where you get away from the usual commitments of your day to day life. A break where the phone is turned off, the emails are not checked and you don't need to look at your calendar as you know there is nothing that needs to be done. 

When was the last time you took a break like that?

A break like this can be confronting. 

It's confronting because we're so used to always having something to do with our time, that when all of those things temporarily disappear, we don't know what to do. 

I wanted to provide a few options:

Read – What are the books you’ve been too busy to read? What can you learn from those who have gone before you? Reading is a great place to hear a fresh perspective, find inspiration and challenge you to dream again. It doesn't matter whether it's a physical book or an audio book, as long as you get the content. Here are 20 great books to get you started. 

Journal – Are you happy with where you’re currently at? What could be improved? What would you like to improve, change or begin? Journaling is a great tool as it allows us to attempt to capture our scattered thoughts on paper. 

Walk – It’s amazing the impact a walk has on our capacity to see things with fresh eyes. While you walk take note of the things you would otherwise ignore. Listen to the birds, take note of the smells, the scenery.

Sleep – One of the most underrated methods of recovery. Rather than using coffee to help you keep going, give your body the chance to recover and go to sleep.

Meditate – Whether you’re experienced in this field or not, having some time away from your regular schedule to could be the perfect place to invest into learning or developing this area of your life. It’s a perfect to learn how busy our minds often become, but also the perfect tool to help you realise that your thoughts don't need to drive your life. Here's a simple guide to get you started. 

Switch off – Give yourself a few days away from your phone and laptop. Instead, enjoy the free time you now have. It’s always amazing to note how much spare time we have when we put our phones away.

Under commit – Don’t plan too much. Rather, give yourself the opportunity to experience a schedule-free day. If you have to schedule anything, do so lightly. Don’t force yourself to need to be somewhere if there’s really nowhere you need to be.