15th June 2015

Four things to better fill your downtime

I think you’d agree that we are busy people? We live in a generation with a million and one things vying for our attention at any moment, between our “9-5’s”, family matters, social calendars, appointments, chores and now a monsoon of emails and social correspondence, our diaries typically remain full to the brim. Yet, even with days when it seems like we can’t catch a breath, we can usually find a break. A chance to take a breather and turn our attention to other things. Maybe this break comes while in a drive thru or carpool line? Perhaps while we’re waiting for something to download, or maybe while we’re waiting in the doctor’s office or for a conference call to begin? But the question is – what do we do with that time? If you’re anything like me I tend to grab my phone and browse emails or endlessly peruse social media sites. Yep, I admit it. Hand raised and guilty as the next gal. It’s a distraction that keeps me busy, yet produces little value. 

So today we’ve done a little research. What if those snippets of downtime during the day could be a little more productive AND beneficial. Here’s what we found…

Four things to better fill your downtime.


1. Tune in. Use the breaks as a chance to complete a course or catch up on your latest podcasts. This option is especially useful during commutes when traffic isn’t on your side. Pick something to have loaded on your phone or ipad that you can plug-in to when the free time arises. Some of our favourites are TED talks which always seem to inspire and spur new ideas. As well as Michael Hyatt’s ‘This is your life’ podcast, a weekly 30 minute segment on international leadership.

2. Pen some encouragement. If there’s a friend who you haven’t contacted in a while send a little hello. If an email or text is the most accessible, do that. If you have some time to write a piece of snail mail then, bonus!

3. Organise your day. It’s all about being efficient and effective. Meal plan, declutter, strike through your to-do list and if you don’t have one create one! This will free up your mind for other important tasks and will leave you feeling like you’re on top of your agenda. Another great tool for organisation is the newsreader app – Feedly. This allows you to collect and save your favourite and most useful news sources and blogs all in one place that you can reference when the free-time arises. You can’t read everything, so be sure to only save what is pertinent and most useful to you.

4. Take stock. Am I fulfilling my dream or someone else’s? Am I genuinely happy? What makes me tick? Use the downtime to reevaluate how you spend your time. You may find that your labour of love is completely worth it, if that’s the case plow on. If not, take the opportunity to find something new to help you de-stress and rejuvenate your spirit.

In the last week I’ve been in five states and my fair share of airports. It’s been a whirlwind of a trip with a few more stops to go. But I love traveling and, even more so, I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. Yet, with all of the traveling comes flight delays, layovers, and a bundle of ‘hurry up and wait’ scenarios. My vow is to start making those snippets of breaks in my day more productive, with hope that it also inspires you to make the most of your free time.

We’d love to hear some of the things you do to make your breaks more productive?

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