How much downtime have you had lately? Real, true downtime where you’re not working, cooking, cleaning… or thinking about working, cooking, cleaning?
If you’re like most of us, you haven’t had much downtime at all. Making time for yourself can be difficult, but it’s so important to your overall productivity and well-being. Here are some things you can do to start working more downtime into your routine.
Wake up 30 minutes earlier.
Only do this if you’re getting enough sleep to start with, because sleep is obviously important as well! If you’re already getting eight hours or more, it might be worth it to give yourself an extra half hour in the morning to read, write, enjoy an uninterrupted cup of coffee, relax – whatever starts your day off on the right foot.
Cut things out of your life that just do. not. matter. Do you really need to spend an hour a week at that committee meeting, or to proofread your brother’s college essay? He’s not going to really use your edits anyway. Some things, of course, are unavoidable (or enjoyable!) but if there’s any part of your routine that you consistently dread, cut it out and put that time to better use.
Make your downtime feel productive.
Whatever you do in your downtime, set a goal for yourself. If you read to unwind, set a goal to read 52 books this year. Every time you sit down with a novel instead of cleaning the kitchen, you’ll still feel like you’re being productive!
Commit to spending time with friends.
If someone else is counting on you to meet them for a drink or to watch The Bachelor, it’ll be a lot harder to bail – whereas if you spend all of your downtime alone, you can easily talk yourself into staying late at work instead. Make those plans, and keep them!
Take your lunch breaks.
Most of us can build an automatic hour of downtime right in the middle of our workdays, which is often when we need it the most. Instead of eating at your desk or running errands, go enjoy a leisurely lunch, a stroll in the park, or some time at the coffee shop with your book of the week.
Enjoy, and remember to relax! You deserve it.