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Do you plan down time into your schedule? You should! One thing I’ve learned in the three years since launching my business is that down time is essential for mompreneurs!
I know, I know. You may not think you have time to have down time. But, it’s important.
And can actually improve your productivity.
You see, your brain needs time to process and reflect. This happens when you slow down for a bit.
If you’re always focused on a new project or worrying about something, your brain is always on the go. And just like a computer with too many tabs open, it can get bogged down.
You may experience symptoms such as:
- Brain fog
- Slow mental processing
- Feeling despair
- Desires to just quit your business since it takes over your whole life
This means your brain needs a bit of time to process what it’s already working on. It’s time for some down time. (Or some sleep. Sleep is good too!)
What Is Down Time?
Before diving further into the topic of down time, I want to define the term. I’m sure there are plenty of other definitions out there, but here’s mine:
Down time is simply time when you are relaxing and enjoying life.
As a busy mompreneur, you may not always get me time, where you get to go off by yourself. So if you wait for me time before giving your brain a break, you’re going to be pretty stressed out by the time it finally occurs.
Don’t wait for me time to relax. Instead, make it a priority to regularly add down time to your schedule.
Activities for Down Time
What do you enjoy doing? That is the perfect activity for down time.
If getting down on the ground to play trucks with the kids stresses you out, that is not down time.
Hate the feeling of bubbles all over? Then taking a bubble bath is not down time for you.
Down time isn’t just time when you aren’t working. Down time means doing something you enjoy.
So, it’s time to make a list. What makes you happy? What lets your brain relax and stop feeling like an overloaded computer processor?
Your list might include:
- Sitting on the couch catching up on an episode of your favorite show
- Playing Clue (or another board game) with your kids
- Having your husband pick up take out after work and heating it up after the kids are in bed
- Taking a long bath
- Reading a chapter from a book
- Drawing or painting
- Taking a brisk walk
- Sitting on the grass and watching the kids play as you daydream
Whatever you enjoy doing—do that.
Don’t invite your smartphone to your down time party. Your phone is too tempting, and easily blurs the line between work and relaxing.
One minute you might be playing a game you enjoy, but what happens when you see a new email has arrived? You might tell yourself it’ll only take a second to check, but before you know it your time is up and it’s really time to get back to work.
Down time is not the time to worry about your email, update Facebook, or wonder what that last notification was about. It’s a break for your brain.
Unplug. Do something you would have done back in high school, before smartphones took over society. Think back to those days. What did you do back then?
How to Make Time for Down Time
If you struggle finding time for relaxing, here are a few tips to help.
- Put it on the calendar. You are important enough to be on your calendar! Schedule your down time purposefully. Then add it to your plan of the day when you’re planning each morning.
- Have some family friendly options. What do you enjoy doing that your kids can do too? It’ll be easier to get more down time into your days if you can do it with the kids. I really like taking walks with the kids, drawing with them, or playing board games.
- Start small. If you’re really feeling like you have no time for relaxing, start with five minutes. Almost anyone can manage to squeeze five minutes into the day.
- Have an end-time. When you know you have a definite end time, you make the most of the down time you have. Set a timer and get back to work when it beeps.
- Don’t take on too much work. Know what you can get done and how long it’ll actually take to get it done. Don’t overbook yourself.
Once you get better at ensuring down time is in your schedule, work on making it a priority. Are you working weekends? Try to free up an occasional one and eventually make it a goal to not work on the weekends.
Since I’ve stopped regularly working weekends, I find I enjoy my business more. I don’t feel like it sucked all the fun out of my life.
Take breaks for holidays, and enjoy the time with your family or friends.
Enjoy the Benefits of Down Time
Taking a break with down time is important. Here are some of the benefits I’ve noticed since making this time a priority:
- Better focus
- Feeling refreshed
- Ready to tackle your to-do list
But, those aren’t the only benefits I’ve noticed. One really important one is that my kids are better able to entertain themselves after periods of down time with me.
They love spending unplugged time with me. We’ve been drawing more, taking walks together, and just being.
Down time is important for kids too!
Down Time Is Essential for Mompreneurs
Actually, down time is important for everyone. But, as a busy mompreneur, you’re taxing your brain daily. You’re trying to remember work deadlines, keep the kids engaged while you’re working, make sure the house doesn’t fall into disarray, and ensure everyone eats.
Whew! It’s enough to make anyone tired.
And it really can overload your brain. You can’t keep all of that straight if you’re working all the time.
You need to take a break.
Give yourself time to enjoy life. Otherwise, you’ll look back in a few years and wonder where it all went. You don’t want that.
Need help making time for free time? My course Balancing Diapers and Deadlines can help. It’ll teach you how to get a solid foundation in place for the things you need to do, so you have time to do the things you want to do. Check it out here.
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.