The In-Between: How to Wisely use your Downtime

Way back when the earth was a wee lass and the moon had just barely formed, our planet was spinning so fast that a day would have just taken 5 hours to pass. Over billions of years, though, the moon's gravitational pull slowed Earth down to our current 24 hour days.


Those 5 hour days are just enough time for me to wake up, take my daily ice bath/cold shower, meditate, walk the dog, work out, eat, start working, and oops! Time to sleep again!


Take that, moon

When we're in the midst of a project, it often feels like the planet is spinning super fast - to the point where it DOES feel like we're living a 5 hour day. Everything is so hectic and needs to be done so quickly that when things slow back down... we have no idea what to do.


So what should we do when we're working, working, working... and then bam! The work stops? Let's get into exactly that today.


There are just two points we're chatting about today:

  1. Resting

  2. Taking Lessons

It seems like an obvious thing to say But taking a break is a great idea when we have nothing to do.


So why are we all so bad at doing this?


Well, resting is a skill in and of itself, and I can count on one hand the people I know who actually know how to take a step back from their work, and recharge. Hell, it took me until I was 31 to learn how to really, truly recharge.


The crux of it, though, is resting in a way that's helpful to you.


What's restful to someone else may not be restful for you And that's one of the real tricky parts about this. For me, doing non-client work is extremely rejuvenating. I'm writing this article on a Sunday afternoon and loving every second of it.


Another example is recording my podcast. I just finished recording 18 episodes worth of the show (more details soon), and had a blast doing it because it wasn't for any clients.


For most people, though, that rest comes from things like vacations, eating out, etc.


Whatever it is for you just make sure it's something that has nothing to do with your day-to-day work. That's the most important part of all of this.


Now, you can only rest so much, so what's another way to use that downtime?


Getting lessons is an extremely overlooked part of growth during downtime It's not uncommon, when we're little, to get things like swimming lessons, learn a sport, or anything like that.


But after high school/college, that learning tends to stop. We tend to just focus on teaching ourselves everything we need to know.


And yes, we can teach ourselves LOTS of things, but in the things we're serious about, hiring a teacher is always a good idea.


Teachers can speed up the process, give us perspective, and inspire us to take our lives in a direction that we didn't even know existed previously.


And no, we don't need to get lessons just on the things we do for work Getting training on things like people skills, finances, dressing well, knitting, or literally anything else is a great idea.


I, for example, hired a personal trainer to get my barbell and kettlebell skills to a god-tier level. Would this improve my work life? Not at all. Does it improve my overall life? Absolutely.


Wherever you can, during your downtime, whether long or short, find a teacher of any subject of interest, and learn from them.


"But Akash, you chocolate banana sticky bun" you say "I don't have ANY downtime at all" This is a common belief, and while it's true pretty much everyone deserves more time away from work, we still have moments in our day where we can take a break, however small.


It could be minutes, hours, or weeks, but it's worth taking that rest (whatever that means for you) when you can.


And if you are, indeed, in a part of your life where it's nothing but work, then take your time, get through it, and then remember these tips for when you have more space.


Though just make sure not every minute of the day is filled and planned for This is a common situation to be in. I personally mark off at least 3 hours of each day to (a technique learned from Sean D'Souza) use for the chaos that comes up, or to have fun with when it doesn't.


So if the dishwasher clogs and spews water everywhere? No problem. I have 3 hours blocked off to deal with it already. Dog gets sick? I can take him to the vet (he's not sick don't worry!) without having to move things around in a hectic fury.


Life invites chaos, so we should plan for it to happen every day.


Now, let's summarize what we learned today:

  1. We all have moments of downtime, sometimes short, sometimes long

  2. When those moments come up, it's easy to feel lost

  3. Some of the best ways we can use our downtime is to truly rest

  4. Or, if we're feeling good and rest, we can take lessons - for skills either related to or completely unrelated to work

  5. Piccolo destroys the moon in Dragon Ball Z and literally no one questions it once


So while sometimes it feels like we have 5 hour days, and other times we have a full 24 hours Taking some rest, and learning from a teacher are some very good ways to spend our downtime away from work.


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