We’ve heard the phrase and we like the idea, but not all of us get to practice downtime often. Whether we are employed full- or part-time, working moms or volunteers, downtime is a golden concept that can help achieve a work-life balance.
Taking time away from professional pressures means we can approach our jobs more proactively when the time comes.
The concept behind this is quite simple. A good analogy is the common living room. For all of us, a stage will come when we decide that the living room needs to a change – even just a little bit.
Maybe the wallpaper looks a little dull, or the upholstery on a favourite couch has become dowdy. By reorganising the furniture or changing the decor, we can freshen up the room, making it new to the eye.
Similarly, by making sure you have time away from all things work-related, work itself is made fresh and new. However, for part-time workers with families or other obligations, the task of finding downtime to strike up a better work-life balance is not easy. So how can it be done?
Book Time With Yourself
The most realistic way to secure downtime is to actually book time with yourself. That may sound strange but it basically means planning something ahead of time. For example, book time at a salon for Tuesday, arrange to meet a friend for coffee on Wednesday, and sign up for an evening pilates class at the local gym every Thursday.
The important thing about whatever you choose to do is to write it down. It can be something as simple as a walk in the park, but ultimately the activity itself doesn’t matter: the written appointment is impossible to ignore compared to an intention that only comes to mind.
The weekends, of course, are a natural space in the week to make time for your family or personal interests. For many people, events are planned for at least a few hours over the weekend when there is no time during the week. The most common ideas are going to the cinema, heading to the beach, or going to a sports event. Whatever it is, the event should have nothing to do with work.
Stick to the Plan
The most important part of scheduling downtime is making sure it is religiously adhered to. Work, as committed as you might be to it, needs to know its place, and therefore be kept at bay for the sake of a superior work-life balance. All too often, falling into the ‘I have to work’ trap gets the better of us.
But resist! Commit to yourself; you will not only enjoy work more but accomplish more there, as well.