Quality use of downtime is a highly subjective thing. Some will defend, to the death, their need/right/want to “veg out” for hours:
- Watching television
- Playing video games
- Surfing around in social media
- And so on.
We all have our favorite escapes. And, if you’re satisfied with what you’ve accomplished in life – and how you use your time in general, enjoy those escapes fully!
But if you are hungry to accomplish more, read on!
Re-evaluating how you use your downtime is very important.
Research consistently shows that highly-successful people use their downtime in positive, productive, and healthy ways.
[bctt tweet=”Highly-successful people use their downtime in more positive, productive and healthy ways.”]
New-goal attainment requires additional time. We can’t create additional time. We can only find it by making tradeoffs in how we are using our time now.
Last June, I committed myself to accomplishing some major goals over the next 12 months – but I knew I had to “make” some new time in order to succeed. That meant cutting out my personal time-wasters. So:
- I canceled my extended cable subscription. No more “default” television.
- I cut the cord on most eating out, optional shopping, and limited drinking to only special occasions (a big deal when you live in New Orleans).
- I became very selective about outings in general – not going out just to pass the time – but only going if the event or the person is truly nourishing to my mind, body, soul, or business.
- I even did a Facebook “audit” and trimmed the number of friends that I actually “follow” – so that the information that does show up on my newsfeed is positive/productive/beneficial/educational.
Has it made a difference? You bet!!
So how am I now using that extra time?
This is the exciting part – and why I wanted to write this post for you today.
I know you’re thinking ahead to 2016 and I know you’re probably thinking about some overall personal-improvement / professional-development goals.
Every major goal has small components. Many of those small tasks/activities are actually pleasurable/enjoyable – even relaxing – if they’re done when you’re in the mood to do them.
But we often don’t even think to take one on when we find ourselves with a bit of free time. We default to many of the time-wasters listed above. It’s habit – and habits are hard to break.
Instead, I now PLAN for my downtime! No, it’s not as rigid as it sounds. It’s just a great way to remind me that I have choices.
Why not create a go-to list of small, productive, pleasurable activities you can tackle during downtime instead traditional time-wasters?
[bctt tweet=”Create a go-to list of small, productive, pleasurable activities you can tackle during your downtime”]
As a subject-matter expert, I must continually stay 3 steps ahead of my clients and readers. In order to do that, I am constantly learning (which I happen to love). That means:
- reading current research from my top 6 journals at the beginning of each month
- following thought leaders in top periodicals
- taking online courses.
As a business owner, I need to spend some of my downtime learning how to run my business more effectively:
- studying every learning resource from my industry (professional speaking)
- testing out new software
- seeking out new organizations I’d like to speak to or work with.
I also need to cultivate and nurture a variety of relationships:
- sending thank you cards
- reaching out to a new acquaintance
- checking on long-standing colleagues.
And I need to create beautiful and inspiring content:
- doing writing exercises
- finding and organizing my favorite photos for future use in my presentations and posts
- playing with photo and video editing software
- watching inspiring and carefully-selected programming.
Finally, I need to devote time to self-care:
- doing my super-fun Zumba class twice/week
- lifting heavy weights twice/week
- power-walking twice/week
- cooking healthy meals for the week
- getting at least 7 hours of good sleep.
Do any of these items sound helpful to you?
What simple activities could you incorporate into your downtime that could help you get one step closer to achieving an important goal?
[bctt tweet=”What simple activities could you do in your downtime to help you get one step closer to your goal?”]
The bulleted items I’ve listed here are general descriptions for the many specific things listed in my own “Downtime List”. My “Downtime List” is actually housed in a small Find Your Spice spiral-ring notebook that stays on me 24/7 (more on THAT in a future blogpost!). Got a few minutes to spare? Flip to the list and choose something on-the-spot!
I’m never without a source of inspiration for more than 20 inspiring, fun things I can do to relax, connect, create, learn, or nourish.
[bctt tweet=”I’m never without a list of 20 inspiring, fun things I can do to relax, connect, create, learn or nourish. “]
The key to being successful at re-prioritizing and more effectively using your downtime is to:
- capture every idea and inspiration as it comes in one consistent place
- keep the list on you at all times to add to and to pull from
- do what you’re in the mood to do when that moment comes
- keep a range of activities to choose from that will help you learn, grow, connect, manage, create, and nourish
- visit the list often – and take great pride in checking off those items you have completed.
Every hour spent productively can bring you one step closer to achieving an important goal. Take a lesson from the super-achievers – choose to use your time and energy wisely.
What are some activities YOU can take on that are relaxing but productive? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments below!