Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing – Winnie the pooh
It is important to work hard but it is equally important to rest, relax and recover from hard work so that we are ready for it the next day. All of us want to be productive, efficient and do more in less time. Nothing wrong in that. However we need to understand that even machines have a scheduled downtime and we need the same.
It was easier pre Covid to plan for downtime. When WFH started it looked like a lot of downtime. Now we have got into a zone where there is a lot of work and a loss of sense of weekdays and weekends. Earlier one could “switch off” as there was office and home. Now homes have become offices so the boundary has blurred. With many establishments still closed, activities like dining out and movie watching which were downtime earlier are now out of bounds. Vacations are out too. Being holed up at home has also increased screen time in a big way. Hence downtime has become even more important.
Downtime is more relevant for a break for the mind rather than the body. The body rejuvenates itself in sleep. It’s the mind that needs some time off. A full-throttle lifestyle can chisel away at productivity, creativity, and happiness, says Stew Friedman, Ph.D., the director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Leading the Life You Want. "The mind needs rest," he says. "Research shows that after you take a mental time-out, you are better at creative thinking and coming up with solutions and new ideas, and you feel more content."
Some ideas to get it done –
Non demanding tasks like gardening, doing dishes (WFH special) allows your mind to relax
Yoga, walk in the park, jog, swim or any other mild physical activity
Anything that you like to do – read, going to the movies, playing a musical instrument or with your kids and pets, sketching, painting
There should be only one rule for the downtime – ignore your phone. Checking social media does not count as downtime!!
It’s ironical – the busier we are, the more downtime we need. As the rested fields give the best crops, the rested mind brings more productivity. Do more by doing slightly less.