Is Downtime Important?

Recently, I spent three wonderful days on the beach basking in the sun, playing in the waves, dipping my toes in the sand and… reading a book. It may not seem like a big deal, but believe it or not it’s been an entire year since I’ve sat down and read a book just for fun.

My life is surrounded by books, but unlike referencing nonfiction for work, I need a solid batch of time to devote to devouring a novel. And this is the first batch of time I’ve had in a year.

Suffice it to say, it’s no wonder I’ve been stressed out and barely keeping my brain in gear. As my author-trainer colleague Shelley Hitz said on Facebook the other day, not having downtime is “like trying to chop down a tree with a dull axe. It’s better to take a break and sharpen the axe than to just keep going.”

When I got back from the beach I felt rested, rejuvenated and ready to tackle my work week. My brain was buzzing with ideas and my hopes and dreams returned to the light. I stopped seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as an oncoming train and started seeing it as a glimmer of sunshine piercing the darkness with hope.

Downtime is extremely important. And as entrepreneurs and service providers, we often push ourselves – and allow our clients to push us – too far. For me, the idea of letting someone down is not something I can easily live with. Therefore it’s not uncommon for me to spend weeks working 18-hour work days just to keep my clients happy.

And you know what? Most of the time they have no idea what I go through for them and then I perceive that they’re not happy anyway because it’s impossible for me to meet their expectations. This makes me start to feel resentful and hate my job. When the fact is, if I take regular time to rest and have some downtime, those issues I think my clients feel are life and death actually aren’t. Everything’s in a better perspective and my clients are more open to my explanation of processes, timelines and how things should work.

When I’ve had proper downtime, I handle things differently. And that makes all the difference with my clients and customers.

Your turn to speak out…

What’s your favorite way to have downtime? Do you feel it’s important? Share your story in the comments below!

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

Leave a Comment

  • Robin
    October 16, 2014

    This is so true. I sometimes have to force myself to take a break. Today was one of those days.

    I will be writing about this and linking to your post. Thanks for sharing.
    Robin recently posted…The Like Gate is ClosingMy Profile

  • Grace
    September 16, 2014

    So true Kristen. It’s important and counterintuitive! Downtime feels like a luxury that comes after we do the work, but in truth it’s the fuel that supercharges us and our work. I too made a point of devouring fiction this summer and it felt like a total indulgence 🙂
    Grace recently posted…Killing yourself to meet a deadline? Give yourself a lifeline.My Profile

  • Connie Dunn
    September 16, 2014

    You know, Kristen, I think that’s always the hardest thing is to take down time. I’ve begun to schedule it into my calendar, so today, my wife and I took a day trip. We didn’t do anything important, we drove down Rt. 62 in Massachusetts, which is literally in the country. We saw a reservoir or two and stopped at a farm and bought an eggplant, a cookie, and some Eggplant Parmesan that was frozen solid (and it was still frozen solid when we got home!), and ate lunch at a restaurant that we happened upon. But we mostly enjoyed the drive in the trees and no traffic! When we returned home, we felt rested!

    Another thing that I know about Mondays is that it is usually hard for most folks to get back into our writing routines…so I began Monday Morning RED HOT Teleseminar Series to help writers be inspired to get back to work. The interviews that I do for this series are all author journeys. If you’re interested, the Website is

    Schedule that down time! You deserve it! Oh…and thanks for my Kindle in 30 prize of a Ninja and Flash Drive!! Love the new logo!!

    Connie Dunn
    Connie Dunn recently posted…Building Your Author Platform Should Be #1 PriorityMy Profile

  • Kathryn Kistner
    September 15, 2014

    My husband comes to me, and says, “Honey, you need to go do some quilting.” Sometimes he will even take things out of my hand and walk me to my sewing machine. LOL!

    HE sees that I’m stressed long before **I** recognize it in myself… apparently like your husband, Kristen.