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7 October 2008

The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

You need to rest your mind in order for it to work well on a long-term basis. Many people need to schedule these rest periods, and even lay down rules for what can and cannot be done during those times. If you’re not naturally inclined to slowing down and taking a break, the best thing you can do is schedule downtime.

How much downtime you need to schedule is a personal matter that depends on a several factors. It’s tempting to schedule less time than you need, but don’t succumb to that temptation. Think about how much you need as opposed to how much you can get by with.

Set rules for your downtime. You should restrict what you can and cannot use a computer for. Maybe you need to spend more time with your kids, so give yourself the requirement that you spend a certain amount of time each week playing with them (if you’re not already doing this, this article is even more important for you).

Proponents of GTD and various other productivity systems have a great tool for optimizing your actions -- the weekly review. Your weekly review should adopt a new component: the weekly downtime review. It’s important, though, to gauge how effective your downtime is and how successful you’ve been at making your downtime appointments. How much downtime did you take in the last week? How does that compare to the amount you scheduled?

Downtime is important. Realize that relaxing isn’t a total waste of time, even if the lack of action makes it feel that way.


* August 25, 2008

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