Making the most of your downtimeBefore you tell me that you don’t have the time for any ‘downtime’, take a minute to think about the age old idea of ‘work hard, play hard’. Ok so I’m not telling you to burn the candle at both ends, but through my own VA business and by talking to other virtual assistants, a common theme seems to be how hard we all work – early mornings, late nights, weekends – sound familiar? There just never seems to be much reprieve, probably because we’re always thinking of ways to grow our business, our client base, our revenue stream, latest industry news, the economy and how to make sure we stay afloat.

But you should think about it. If only for a morning, afternoon or evening. 

When was the last time you really switched off and had some you time? It seems obvious, and I’m sure you’ve said it yourself to your clients or colleagues over the years, but switching off your laptop, blackberry and iPad and doing something for you helps to beat stress, reduces pressure on yourself, and quite simply allows you to have fun. Oh and by the way I mean you, not doing something for your family, husband, or friends unless that is your ideal downtime – just so we’re clear!

What is it you like to do, or you used to do but now don’t have the time for? For me it’s heading to the beach with a good novel and reading away a few hours in the sunshine before heading to meet my girlfriends for a sunset glass of wine – bliss. When was the last time I did this? Last weekend actually! You don’t think I’d write an article on the importance of downtime without listening to my own advice do you?!

But seriously you’ll be amazed at the benefits. Downtime allows your body to relax, allows your brain to fully process information gathered throughout the day, and allows you to take a step back and reflect on the day / week / month. It’s essential for both preventing burnout and preparing us for what lies ahead and therefore will increase your productivity throughout the week ahead.

For me after my downtime last weekend, my head felt clearer by not thinking of anything other than the storyline of my current literary classic (ahem), my batteries felt recharged and I’d even managed to subconsciously reach a solution about a problem one of my clients was experiencing (we’ve all had people tell us ‘if you can’t remember something try not to think about it and the answer will come’ – very true!). So if that isn’t a reason alone to have some downtime then I don’t know what is!

Whether it’s working out, dancing, cooking, reading or have a lovely long lay in with the papers on a Sunday morning, go on, try it, I assure you that you’ll see the benefits in one way or another, even if it’s just to remind us how much we love the job we do.

What is it you enjoy doing in your downtime? We’d love to hear your thoughts so please leave us a comment below.