Everyone needs a well deserved break and some downtime regardless of how much they want or need to get done.
Remember there is only so much you can do in a day and you should allow for a proper wind-down after work and before bed. You should not have to think or plan what you want to do in your downtime, it should come naturally. However, if you are finding it difficult to make winding down a habit or fit it into your schedule it can help to make a plan and “schedule” your time just to get you started.
You should always have some general downtime throughout the day – by this I mean taking a break.
If you feel yourself lagging take a quick break – I find a quick 5 minute break works wonders.
You are no good to anyone (yourself included) if you are tired, grumpy and unproductive. Take a quick break during your working day and stretch your legs or make yourself a cup of coffee. You do not need to schedule this in, but make sure you know when you are beat and need to take a break. It will help.
Following a busy day at work you should have a break between “work mode” and “after work or self mode”. Most of us are just as busy in the evening when our working day is over. It is important to have a gap and to breathe momentarily before jumping straight into whatever housework or home project you have to do. For most people this sort of downtime will be scheduled as their commute home or grabbing a bite to eat. But there are other ways to schedule in this gap like going for a run, cooking while listening to the radio or reading a chapter of the book that can make you step away from your hectic daily life and slow down.
There should always be a physical break between your working life and your home life to help you keep them separate. I like to take 30-60 minutes for this downtime.
You have probably heard that it is bad for your health to use technology before going to bed. Using your computer or phone before bed does not allow for a proper wind-down and can potentially lead to you going to bed stressed which can cause a sleepless night. You will also get to sleep easier and quicker if you are more relaxed and have scheduled relaxing activities for the 30-60 minutes before going to sleep. Relaxing activities include:
- reading a book or magazine
- taking a bath
- listening to music / radio / audiobooks
- crafts or a hobby
- gentle exercise
- making simple preparations for the next day, such as packing your bag or planning your lunch.
Too many people complain they “never have time to…” kill to birds with one stone and use your downtime to do those things you don’t have time to do.