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Why Making Time for Downtime is Important

It can be easy to get so bogged down in work that you can forget to come up for air--especially if your work involves running a small business. If you’re not working on something, there is a meeting to attend or there’s a proverbial fire to extinguish. The work cycle could go on 24/7, if you allow it to. No matter how busy you are or demanding your work is, you have to take some downtime for yourself. It doesn’t matter what it is; falling down a social media rabbit hole for 15 minutes, taking a walk or catching a power nap, you need to carve out time in your day for you. Yes, taking a break is easier said than done for the small business owners with deadlines looming or if you are trying to sign that next big client, but nothing is as important as your personal well being. Let’s take a deep dive into why you should always make time for down time. Downtime is good for your health. There may be no greater way to recharge than to simply get a good night’s sleep. When you get an uninterrupted seven to eight hours of sleep, you will not only recharge your mind and body, but you’ll maintain better health. As an added bonus, you’ll be more alert for the following workday. To ensure yourself a good night’s sleep, try to stop drinking caffeine 2 p.m. Speaking of cut off times, pick one preferably 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime, to stop using any devices, phones, laptop, tablet, etc. to give your brain a chance to wind down so you can fall asleep more easily. Downtime will make you more productive. It sounds a little contradictory, right? After all, how could you be productive if you’re taking down time? The idea is when you step away from work, that time will help boost your productivity levels when you get back to it. When you map out your schedule, pencil in some downtime. If you know a break is coming, whether it’s 15 minutes or a week, you have something to look forward to and can put your focus on accomplishing your tasks at hand. If you don’t add those pauses into your schedule, you may find excuses to take unplanned breaks that can kill your work momentum. That will only add more stress when you’re forced to play catch up. Downtime is good for your personal life. You work is what you do, but it isn’t who you are. If you avoid taking breaks, you run the risk of your job consuming you to the point that people, including you, will begin to identify you solely by your work. That label aside, the other risk by not taking downtime is damaging personal relationships, whether it’s your significant other, children, friends, etc., they deserve room in your schedule, too. There is only so many times you can say, ‘Sorry, I have to work’ before even the strongest of your relationship bonds can begin to weaken. The best way to avoid that from happening goes back to scheduling. Just like you would set times for client meetings, do the same for your friends and family. For example, dedicate the hour after your family eats dinner for playing games or circle the third Sunday of every month for brunch with your friends. No one is disputing you have a job to do or that it is time consuming. You just have to remember not to let it consume all of your time. Take some of those 24 hours you get every day for yourself. Your mind, body and loved ones will thank you for it.


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