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13a. Downtime, benefits of it

Hey, it’s Anne with SpiritRiver. Today I’m talking about the importance of really maximizing your downtime, and with that, I’ll have a part two on Thursday. But today, I’m just going to talk about the importance of having downtime for your psyche. Sometimes I have found that I get caught up in all the things that I want to get done, and I carry that right into the weekend, right into Sunday, and pretty soon I’m working Monday through Sunday. And when you don’t have downtime, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, Jane a dull girl.

So what happens is you don’t have any time when you’re free mentally and you start to become less and less efficient. What I’ve found over time is that as I really become great at honoring my downtime, where when I’ve slotted downtime, I do not start working in it, I really enjoy that and I maximize it, and then when I come back to work, I’m refreshed and ready.

I got this training from a father who was exceptional at this. First of all, he never worked when he wasn’t working. Maybe a couple times I saw him bring something home, but typically when he was with us, he was with us. And on the weekend, for example, while other families were coming home early on a Sunday so their adult parent could get ready for their Monday of work, my dad would be coming in with us at the last moment.

We would all go right up to bed, he would go to bed with my mom, and he’d be gone when we got up. So when his vacation time started that day, we packed up and we left for camping, and we wouldn’t come back until the day before, the night before, the afternoon before he was going to have to go back to work the next day. So I was taught by a master how to work hard and play hard, and take advantage of both.

Because when you do the playing, when you really unplug, you really let go, you really put your work on the side, and the same with an idea or a project, if you’re working on it all the time, it’s going to wear you down. So today’s lesson is next time, or throughout this week or the next few weeks, when you plan downtime, take it all the way. Take it and discipline yourself to really maximize it, so when you come back at the end of that time, you’re super fresh.

And just take some notes on it in your mind, take some mental notes on the difference between when you let your work drag into your downtime, or when you’re really, really disciplined about honoring yourself and giving yourself the downtime, what happens as a result of that when you get back into the flow of your work?

On the Spirit River community page on Facebook or in my Instagram for SpiritRiver, I’d love to hear your thoughts about taking some really saturated downtime. With all my love to you and great wishes for incredibly fulfilling downtime.

13b. Restructuring work day for productivity

It’s Anne with SpiritRiver, part 2 of talking about time and the importance of downtime, either creating it or creating ways for you to shut your mind down. Today I’m talking about two strategies. One is to simply identify, and I had you do this for an assignment, identify how much time you spend “at work” working that’s actually productive. So as you analyze your productivity for a day, that will tell you how much time you’re really wasting and floundering, and how much time is actually productive, and then that’s giving us information.

So let’s say that you worked six hours productively out of eight, now you have two hours to do something with. You either can be done after six hours, just be super productive during that time period and be done early, or you can add, figure out how you’re wasting time. One of the ways that I used to waste time, and sometimes I still get stuck doing, is I have a to-do list that I create of the things that need to get done. And wanting to get them done, I do a little of each thing, and the days that I do that, I’m asking myself to shift in and out of too many different skill sets and it eats time, and I end up throwing other activities in there, I get sidetracked.

So one of the techniques is to see all the things that I want to get done in the week or the month, or you have a quarterly goal, what are you focused on, and breaking that into the types of tasks you need to get done, and perhaps one full day you’re working on one type of task. So it’s a creative task one day, the next day it’s a research task, the next morning it’s a conglomeration of a type of communication, and maybe in the afternoon it’s something completely different. And when you do that, you’re really giving your mind opportunities to focus and get productive on each type of task, and that works extremely well.

So once you leave your workday then, and once you’re done with that block of time, you shift your mind to the next total mindset that you need to be in. And by the end of your day, if you’re highly productive, you should be able to break out of your work like a child running home from grade school, where you finished your work and now you’re free, and I want that for you. If we can do that every day, if we can create free time every single day, every single evening, then every day you come to your work fresh and you’re not begrudging the time that you’re spending on work.

So my goal today with you is to help you analyze what you’re actually getting done each day in productivity, and then figure out what you can do with that extra time. Can you either become more productive so you’re not trailing your work into the weekend or into the evening, or can you have extra hours off every single day so that you’re fresh when you go to the work? So, analyze that schedule and make some decisions about how you could become more productive. Let’s see if you can free up more downtime.