Learn about 5 great benefits of having downtime in this guide. An audio version is available here.
Keep reading to learn more.
Having downtime is more important than you might realise, and here are just five reasons why downtime is really good for you:
- Having downtime can make you more productive
- Having downtime can make you more creative
- Having downtime can help you solve problems
- Having downtime can help you to become calmer, and reduce your stress and anxiety levels
- Having downtime can help make you happier
Let’s look into these benefits in more details.
Benefit # 1
Having downtime can make you more productive
There’s this common myth about what productivity looks like. Most people think that being productive is all about doing stuff all the time. People believe that being productive is about being busy, and having every minute of their day occupied by some task or the other.
But that is a dangerous myth, because nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality is that productivity is not about quantity. It’s not about doing as much as you can. No, not at all, true productivity is more about quality than it is ever about quantity.
You see, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter how much time you spend doing something if there is little to nothing to show for it. The end result, ultimately, is what counts.
That’s what matters.
If productivity was all about the amount of work someone does then everyone who works twelve hour days would be top performers, but that is hardly ever the case.
The best of the best are rarely ever the ones who spend the most time working. It’s not that hard work is not important, what it is about is working smart. It’s about working smart, rather than just hard.
True productivity is about making the most of the time you spend, rather than just mindlessly spending your time doing stuff. And to that end, when you have downtime you can get some much needed mental space and clarity to do effective work, work that matters.
Not just that, downtime can also help energise you which in turn can then make you a lot more effective. So the next time you want to boost your productivity, take some downtime.
Even a small break can have a big positive impact on your productivity and effectiveness.
Benefit # 2
Downtime can make you more creative
Creativity has become a cherished skill of late. Lots of, if not most, professions actively require creativity these days. But do you you know what the easiest way to block your creativity is?
It is to have little to no mental space to think of anything other than what you need to do. That is, doing things all the time is the easiest way to get in the way of being creative.
Being on the go and occupied all the time can significantly stagnate the creative flow. On the other hand, if you want to be more creative and really get your creative juices flowing than having some downtime can do wonders.
Having downtime can give you the breathing space you need to get your creative muscles active, and help your brain make the seemingly unrelated and out-of-the-box connections that makes for the best, most interesting and even the most innovative creative ideas and options.
Being creative is a good thing, and can help you both in your professional and your personal life, and having some downtime can be one of the easiest ways to encourage more creativity. So the next time you want (or need) to get your creative juices flowing, try taking some time out from doing stuff. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it just might unlock what you need.
Benefit # 3
Having downtime can help you solve problems
Following on from the earlier point about creativity, having downtime can also help you to solve problems. When your brain is overwhelmed with a ton of things that you want or need to get done, it doesn’t really have much space to think of anything else. When you pile on problems on top of all the other things that are going on, often what it does is cause more stress and overwhelm, which just gets in the way of finding solutions to problems.
A better and more option is to take some time off. The downtime can help you reduce the clutter and free up space to think about your different options, including options that you might not have otherwise even considered.
Out-of-the-box solutions don’t really come to you when your brain is already full of all the different things you want and need to get done. That sort of state of mind is not very good for coming up with options and solutions. Whereas, when you have some breathing room you can relax a bit which helps you to feel better, and your brain can have some free space to do the work it is really good at doing – which is to come up with options and solutions. So the next time you have a problem you need to solve, one you are finding difficult to find a solution for, take some downtime. That just might do the trick.
Benefit # 4
Having downtime can help you become calmer
Stress is one of the biggest problems we are currently facing. It has been widely recognised as one of the biggest causes of health problems in current times.
And the problem is only getting worse, exacerbated by the fact that we are more connected and engaged now than ever in the history of mankind.
Any time you look at someone outside these days, you will see their faces buried in their phones. Now, that in and of itself is not a bad thing if what they are using their phones for helps their state of mind. Unfortunately, that’s not how it usually works because more often than not people spend their time on their phones doing things like scrolling through social media and news.
Those activities might seem like fun, and they might sound like they are a good way to take a break but they usually cause more stress, not less. When you are busy comparing your life to that of influencers on social media or worrying about what other catastrophe is about to hit us as a result of the news you read, your mind does not relax.
Not at all, quite the opposite.
Activities like checking your social or news feed often makes you more stressed, not less. So if you want to reduce your stress and improve the state of your mental health and wellbeing, try taking some downtime. And I do mean proper effective downtime, downtime that does not involve doing things that will keep your mind on the edge.
Benefit # 5
Having downtime can help make you happier
Having downtime is good for you for a whole host of reasons, as you have learned so far. And here’s potentially the biggest benefit of them all: having downtime can help make you feel more happy.
Let’s try a thought exercise to demonstrate how this works: just imagine that you have some time when you have nothing to worry about, and no responsibility or deadline whatsoever.
How does it feel?
How does it feel to have time when you don’t have to do anything, when you are not worried about anything, when you can do whatever you want, or even not do anything?
Does it not feel freeing?
Does it not feel good?
Does it, then, not make you happy? Because that is what downtime does – it gives you a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. So if you want to be happier, try taking some downtime.
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You have learned so far about the benefits of having downtime, and you know now that it can be very good for you.
However, before you make any assumptions I’m going to clarify some things: I’m not recommending that you stop doing everything you do and just relax all day, because that’s hardly practical. What I am suggesting is that you curve out at least a few minutes here and there during your day where you will give yourself some space to do absolutely nothing, or whatever you want to do.
Maybe you will carve out a ten minute break for yourself during your lunch, or a twenty or a thirty minute break at some other time during the day. It doesn’t have to be a lot, even a small break can help. Especially during times when you are feeling down, stressed or overwhelmed – those are the times when downtimes can really help.
Give yourself some breathing room on a regular basis. It might seem like a waste of time or time that you can’t really afford to spend on doing nothing, but in reality this downtime can help you a lot more than you think.
Even a few minutes of downtime a day can have a big positive impact on your life.
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