As a recovering “plan everything-aholic” I can appreciate the need for to do lists and schedules. But let me share a secret with you. If you want to increase your productivity and maximize your happiness quota, do yourself a favor and schedule down time. That’s right. Include time for doing absolutely nothing in your calendar. Does the thought of doing this make you feel nervous and uncomfortable? Congratulations! You probably need quiet time the most. I can almost hear you overachievers out there saying “I don’t have TIME to do nothing” and “But what am I supposed to do during that scheduled block of time?”.
First of all – there is always time to do the things that are important. Prioritize down time and make it a non-negotiable. Put it in your calendar and treat that time just like you would any important mandatory meeting at work. Make having free time a priority. What you do with this time is entirely up to you. Here’s a thought – be spontaneous! Grab a cup of coffee and take a walk through the park, really notice your surroundings. Sit in your favorite chair and let yourself day dream. Write in your journal. Enjoy a glass of wine in the hot tub or in front of a fire. Enjoy the sunset or the sunrise if you’re up early. The point is to relax, decompress, recharge and stop thinking. Start with 10 minutes a day. Focus on being present in the moment and forget everything else for a while. Think of this time as a mini daily retreat for your soul! Notice how your stress level decreases, your body feels less tense and your mind refreshed. Now, go schedule your downtime!