“It couldn’t last. Everyone was just killing time. But if all they did was kill time, time would end up killing them.” – Michael Grant
I don’t know about you, but sometimes, even though we are all entitled to a day off for the sake of our wellbeing, I often feel guilty about it. The reason for this is that I might easily spend the day doing nothing (by which I mean watching TV, playing computer games, sleeping, scrolling, or reading), which, as an adult, I am allowed to do, but reach the end of the day feeling annoyed that I have ‘wasted it’. Any of this sound familiar?
It’s great to have downtime and to switch off, but sometimes our lives could do with some attending to. There are always bits of, what I call, ‘life admin’ to sort out. If on a day off, I manage to deal with some of these, move my life forward, and enjoy some chill-out time, I consider it to have been a free day well spent. Here are some of the ways I make that happen…
I know it sounds a bit ‘work-like’ to talk about a schedule on a day off but making a quick plan for your day will ensure you don’t let any time go by unused. Our wellbeing depends not only on rest time but also purpose and moving forward, so a plan to get all of those things into the day will serve you well.
2. Get Those Little Jobs Done
For the ‘productivity’ portion of your productive day off, don’t feel that you have to tackle enormous projects. Have a think about all the little things that need doing around your home that you keep forgetting to complete. I do not doubt that there are at least a good handful of five-to-ten-minute jobs that need seeing to in your life that never seem to get done.
As an example of what I mean, consider my wife, who had a day off recently. She decided to break up every one hour of downtime with a job that took no more than fifteen minutes. During these fifteen-minute productivity periods, she watered all of the houseplants, changed some lightbulbs, deep cleaned the toilet, cleared up some cluttered windowsills and paired down her wardrobe.
3. Start The Day When You Get Up
Days off often mean a lie-in, which is wonderful. However, a lie-in can linger, and once you have gotten up and had a lazy morning, you can end up in the afternoon before you know it, without having done anything. Every get to the middle of the day and feel like that time has disappeared without you knowing?
Have a lie in. Sure. But cap it. Set a reasonable time to wake up, get up, and ready yourself for the day. Then crack on!
4. Set A Time Not A Completion Goal
Although it’s good to have a well-spent day off and to achieve useful things, try not to pressure yourself. When deciding what to tackle, try not to think of your list as a set of goals that must be reached. Instead, work through the list in the time you have allotted for productive tasks and get as far as you can in that allotted time. At the end of the day, you should be saying, “great. I was solidly productive for two hours today,” not, “oh no. I didn’t reach the end of my list.”
5. Remember It’s A Day Off
But listen, however you spend your day off, whether it is full of busyness and task completion, or whether it is all spent on the sofa in your pyjamas, remember this… rest is not something you should feel guilty about. Our wellbeing depends on adequate rest, recreation, and regeneration. If you really need a day of doing nothing, then don’t beat yourself up for taking it.
By Chris Thomson
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