As businesswomen, we’re very driven! Whether we’ve just launched our business and we’re desperate to make a living, or we’re being doing this for a while like I have (20+ years), we tend to work long hours with little time or attention to anything else. So the thought of taking down-time may freak us out.
What Is Down-Time?
Down-time is the discipline of getting the rest and sleep you need to be able to function optimally as a businesswoman and a woman. Taking down-time also involves stepping away from the business to engage in a hobby, exercise, or relaxation. Because it’s a discipline, each woman needs to figure out how often and how much down-time to take. This may include mini-breaks during the day, two or lengthier weekly outings, and at least one day a week on which you set our work aside completely.
Dangers of Not Taking Down-Time
Taking downtime may seem like a catch-22. You may be challenged with your business, and you feel like taking time away will only get you further behind. And, admittedly, you’re sometimes caught against looming bills to be paid. Also, some of you reading this are intensely passionate about succeeding.
Following are some dangers of not taking downtime:
- Physical burnout. No one can run a marathon day-in and day-out. You need rest and relaxation. When you’re solely focused on work, you tend to neglect to get enough sleep, eating right, and exercising. It can be a recipe for overwhelm and the likelihood of getting sick.
- Emotional stress. The old adage goes, “All work and no play make Karen a dull girl.” When all you do is work, you find ourselves becoming overwhelmed. And in being frustrated, you become short with people and your relationships suffer. Stress also damages your physical health and kills creativity.
- Decreased productivity. Under pressure, you may feel like there’s no way you can work down-time into your hectic schedule. But failure to do so is likely to diminish your ability to produce. It’s like trying to drive a car that’s in dire need of a tune-up. It can’t function properly, and neither can you.
Those are some of the reasons that create entrepreneurial exhaustion of not taking down-time, so let’s look at the gains:
Benefits of Taking Down-Time:
- Recharges, re-energises and motivates! After being cooped up at a desk all day, there’s nothing like a brisk run or walk in nature to clear your mind and recharge your batteries. You come back to your work, feeling ready to tackle its challenges.
- Stimulates creativity. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck trying to problem-solve. I decided to walk away from the problem. Then for an hour or two for some exercise or to engage in a hobby. Often, while I’m not thinking about it, the solution to the problem just pops into my mind. Or, I come back to work feeling refreshed, and the idea comes then. Different surroundings, varied experiences, interaction with others, and incubation time are often crucial elements for generating creativity. Taking downtime can be just what you need to give you that boost.
- Increases productivity. Taking time away from work increases your productivity. Refusal to leave your computer until the project is finished may seem like a good idea, but it may cause you to become frustrated from at your business and get bored with it. You may even get sloppy, just to be able to say you’ve finished. It’s much better to step away from work for a while and come back energised.
- Improves decision-making. A well-documented phenomenon called “decision-fatigue” sets in when you’re required to make decisions continually without taking breaks. You make better decisions when you’re well-rested and not under so much pressure.
Taking downtime is a necessary discipline for staying alert, productive, healthy, and creative. These mini-breaks from work can be fun and energising. So, what is your strategy for getting down-time into your workday? If you are ready to create your business model your way and learn how to create strategies that prevent overwhelm and frustration come and have a chat.