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I love what I do as a Productivity Consultant and Coach, and as a Human Resources Professional. Having two rewarding careers is more than many people ever experience.
However, as one who wants to be sure the people I serve are taken care of, I sometimes don't know when to shut down, or I feel I can't shut down from work.
Many people experience this dilemma, whether self-imposed or imposed upon them by a manager or their peers. Either way, it isn't healthy if it goes on too long.
Most industries experience cyclical surges in business. For accountants, tax season is chaotic. For HR, there are distinct spikes in workload for open enrollment and the performance management process.
But, for many, workloads are trending at spiked levels all year long due to staff reductions (or fear of them) and redistribution of responsibilities. For this reason, we must maximize our work time so we can enjoy our well-deserved downtime guilt-free.
A few days ago, someone was telling me how exhausted they were. I know this person generally works from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and then works additional time on the weekend. This person often works with team members globally, and time zones can be challenging.
Their mother popped over during the week to join the family for dinner. Everyone was waiting for this individual to stop working so they could eat. Eventually, their spouse popped in and asked if the family could proceed to eat without them. And that is precisely what the family did.
Not only did this person miss out on quality time with their family, but they also missed out on the opportunity for some much-needed downtime away from work.
I predict their body will soon put them on a break - involuntarily! Whether in the form of illness or insurmountable fatigue, it will come.
Many of us work more than we should, for a variety of reasons. I often struggle with feeling every waking moment must be productive. My husband is quite familiar with me saying, "When I get past [insert project name here], things will settle down." But he reminds me, and as much as I hate to admit it, he's right - there will always be "something."
I often fail to remember that periodic downtime IS productive. Physical and mental exhaustion is not productive.
Don't wait until your body and your mind rebel and shut you down. You must set yourself up with a Productive Environment™ that allows you to maximize your work-time, which will enable you to have downtime.
Schedule your downtime if you have to, and keep that commitment to yourself! Build-in time daily for something you enjoy, like being out in nature, playing with the dog, or watching your favorite show. Take the weekend off entirely. If that seems like too much at first, take one day off, or start with half a day. Just do something for enjoyment!
Sleep is essential, but it doesn't count as downtime. You must have an opportunity to pursue non-worked-related interests. You will feel more motivated, energized, and creative. Plus, it makes you a more interesting person when you can speak about more than just your work.
Seriously. Even machines need periodic service. Think of your downtime time as scheduled, required maintenance to keep yourself running at peak performance.
Are you regularly taking time away from work to do what you enjoy? If your answer is no, and you don’t know where to start, click here to get your productivity score today.
©2005-2020 Productive Environment Institute | Used under license to Kathy Muzik