“We are human beings, not human doings.”
Being self-employed, we sometimes are tempted to work 24/7. However, by doing that, we risk losing our joy in what we`re doing. As well as tasks and to-dos we need to schedule downtime each day – time for doing nothing productive at all. To give our heads some rest, to free our minds, and to keep the energy flowing.
During busy times, I end up not taking the time for this kind of downtime if I don`t schedule it in my planner. This is counterproductive for all sorts of reasons.
Appointments for our downtime are just as important as appointments for our to-do’s. If not even more important. After all, no one will regret having not spent more time in front of the computer screen when dying. But it`s more likely that we regret not having taken enough time for fun and friends.
The purpose of our calendar is to protect us from working too much. Planning is supposed to help us not end up in a rush and stressed out. A calendar is there to free our minds. So that we can be truly present when doing something instead of thinking about what else we should be doing right now.
So, we need to schedule time for doing non-productive fun stuff and commit to that plan. If there is not enough time for this kind of downtime, then we may need to postpone something else – it`s not healthy to put downtime at the very end of our priority list. And in the future, we may need to say no to work that is threatening to take that space in our calendar.
This is often hard being self-employed. But if I never say no and don`t schedule with a realistic view, I`ll end up giving up my downtime for all the other to-dos I`ve committed to. I`ll pay for that later with the stinging regret that I haven`t savored the lifetime that has been given to me. Plus, I risk losing my joy altogether and end up grumpy and stressed – and that`s not going to serve anyone.
I guess everyone needs to find his or her own balance between work and downtime. I generally need the weekend off, at the very least Sunday (or any day for that matter). Plus a minimum of one hour a day to do nothing productive. And I don`t mean six 10-minute breaks adding up to one hour, but one complete hour at a stretch. What I do during this time mustn`t be performance-related at all. That could be going out with friends, reading for fun, watching a movie, or hanging out. Basically, being utterly lazy.
I still take photographs in my free time, too, as that`s just what I like to do after all. But that`s just for fun then and the pictures don`t need to face any judgment. They don`t have to fulfill any criteria except that it`s what I feel like doing at the moment.
What do you enjoy doing without any pressure? And do you set aside time for downtime every day?