Appointments for Downtime

Appointments for Downtime

“We are human beings, not human doings.”

This post is an extension of my last week`s post “Should-Do`s“.

As freelancers, we sometimes are tempted to work 24/7. Yet, by doing that, we risk losing our joy for what we`re doing. As well as tasks and Should-Dos I need to schedule time each day to just do nothing productive at all. To give my head some downtime, to free my mind, and to keep energy flowing.

If I don`t schedule that time in my planner I end up working overtime often which is counterproductive for all sorts of reasons.

Commit to some downtime

Appointments for our downtime are just as important as appointments for our Should-Do`s. If not even more important. After all, no one will regret having not hoovered often enough when dying. But it`s more likely that we regret not having taken enough time for fun.

The purpose of our calendar is to protect us from working too much and under stress. It`s there to free our minds. Not to make us work like a robot.

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.

No performance

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 all. That could be going out with friends, fun-reading, 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?

Termine für`s Faulsein

Dieser Post ist eine Ergänzung zu dem Post von letzter Woche: “Should-Do`s“.

Als Freiberufler sind wir manchmal versucht, rund um die Uhr und die ganze Woche zu arbeiten. Aber wenn wir das machen, kann es passieren. dass wir unsere Freude an dem was wir tun, verlieren. Genauso wie Aufgaben und Should-Do`s muss ich jeden Tag Zeit für`s Faulsein einplanen. Damit meine ich, was zu machen, was überhaupt nicht produktiv ist. So kann ich meinem Gehirn eine Auszeit geben, den Kopf freibekommen und die Energielevels oben halten. 

Wenn ich diese Zeit nicht als Termin in meinem Terminplaner einplane, dann werde ich dazu verleitet sein, Überstunden zu machen. Und das ist aus zehntausend Gründen kontraproduktiv.  

Termine für`s Faulsein einhalten

Termine für`s Faulsein sind genauso wichtig wie die für unsere Should-Do`s. Wenn nicht sogar noch wichtiger. Schließlich werden wir es nicht bereuen zu wenig Staub gesaugt zu haben, wenn wir sterben. Sondern wir werden es eher bereuen, uns nicht genügend Zeit zum Spaßhaben genommen zu haben. 

Der Zweck unseres Terminplaners ist es, uns vor zu viel Arbeit und vor Stress zu schützen. Er soll uns dabei helfen, unseren Kopf frei zu bekommen. Und nicht, wie ein Roboter zu arbeiten.

Also müssen wir Zeit einplanen für Dinge, die wir einfach nur zum Spaß machen ohne produktiv sein zu müssen. Und diese Zeit dann auch einhalten. Wenn nicht genügend Zeit dafür da ist, dann müssen wir was anderes verschieben. Oder in Zukunft nein sagen zu Arbeit, die uns diesen Platz im Kalender wegnimmt. 

Das ist als Freiberufler oft schwierig, vor allem wenn es sich um einen guten  oder wichtigen Job handelt. Aber wenn ich nie nein sage und immer versuche, allen gerecht zu werden, dann bezahle ich später damit, dass ich es bereue die Lebenszeit, die mir gegeben wurde, nicht wirklich ausgekostet zu haben.  Und ich riskiere, dass ich meine Freude ganz verliere, dass ich schlecht gelaunt und gestresst bin – und davon hat ja wirklich keiner was. 

Keine Leistung

Ich vermute, dass jeder seine eigene Balance finden muss, zwischen Arbeit und Faulsein. Ich brauche das Wochenende frei, zumindest den Sonntag (oder eben einen Tag in der Woche). Und mindestens eine Stunde am Tag, um nichts Produktives zu machen. Damit meine ich nicht sechs 10-Minuten-Pausen, die eine Stunde ergeben, sondern eine Stunde am Stück. Was ich in dieser Zeit mache, darf nicht irgendwie leistungsbezogen sein. Das könnte zum Beispiel mit Freunden rausgehen sein, lesen zum Vergnügen, Film schauen, rumhängen. Also im Grunde faul sein.

Oder auch fotografieren, schließlich mache ich das gern. Aber dann eben nur zum Spaß, das heißt, die Bilder müssen nicht einer Bewertung standhalten, auch nicht meiner eigenen. Sie müssen nicht irgendwelche Kriterien erfüllen außer, dass mir in dem Moment danach ist.

Was machst du gerne ohne Druck? Und planst du dir jeden Tag Zeit ein, um faul zu sein?

7 Replies to “Downtime”

  1. Thank you for sharing your insight! I agree that if we don’t schedule downtime on our calendar, it will never happen and we will burn out. I appreciate this reminder! Downtime helps recharge our brains.

    RE: What do you enjoy doing without any pressure? And do you set aside time for downtime every day?

    I enjoy playing the ukelele – learning as a beginner, walking around my neighborhood without any technology to unplug. Sometimes intending to do NOTHING is hard! How about you?

    I think our brains are wired to keep being distracted or doing something, since technology became part of out personal lives – let alone attached to our bodies like smart watches. Downtime could mean different things to anyone though. 🙂 mine is literally not using technology.

    1. Hi Patsy, thanks so much for your smart comment! It`s so beautiful that you`re playing the ukelele!! – That`s exactly what I meant: doing something for pure joy, not for some sort of success or because you feel like you should do it. And you made such a good point there: Not using technology is such a clever way to unwind and recharge!! So true: When I use my downtime to watch stuff on a screen – and be it just looking at pictures – as soon as a screen is involved, I sometimes don`t really feel like I`ve “lived” that time at all. Generally, my main downtime activities are reading books that I find enjoyable (these are usually books that a literature professor would look down on;-), going out to take pictures for fun, and seeing friends I love. My main struggle is to actually stick to doing these “just for fun” things every day – and not to tell myself: “Well this is not so important, I `ve got so much urgent stuff to do, I can do that tomorrow .. ” (And tomorrow the same … ) Spending time deliberately away from any technology is such a good exercise! Oh, btw I remember having listened to a brilliant audiobook “Time and how to spend it” by James Wallman – I can totally recommend it if you`re interested in this kind of stuff. He suggests leaving the house without a phone now and then, for example when meeting up with friends. And instead of calling them when arriving at the pub “Where are you sitting?” just go and look for them – a whole new adventure 😉 Thanks again for your insight anyway!! Have a happy day:-)

      1. Hi Nadine! You’re very welcome and thank you for your thoughtful reply and audiobook suggestion. That’s wonderful you read for leisure — I struggle finishing a book. I’m sure reading a lot no matter the content, has influenced your writing in creative and inspirational ways.

        I LOVE the idea of finding the party instead of texting/calling prior. In the information age, we’re so used to having information available so often, that living in uncertainty causes discomfort at times. Thank you again, and yes, have a happy day as well!

        1. Thanks Patsy, and I`m sure you would finish books with ease if you find the right ones for you 🙂 In my experience, it`s a different experience when you read something because you “should” read something or because it`s supposed to be a “good book” vs. when you want to read something just because you like how it`s written or because you like the world the book is telling you about.

          1. I appreciate your encouragement! I agree with you; I was in middle reading a book the other night just for sake of reading. It does feel more enjoyable than thinking of such ways as you mentioned. Cheers!

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