If you are new to running an online business you may have noticed that there doesn’t seem to be any real downtime from your business. Or you may have been at it for a while and are starting to notice that your business has taken over every aspect of your life. And that is unfortunate because downtime is something that you need for your mental health, your physical health and to keep a spark in your business.
Anytime you get a break from work or from your usual routine that is considered downtime. Downtime can be a 2 week vacation or a 10 minute meditation break.
Why you need downtime
In today’s corporate world it is common to check your email in the evenings, get caught up on things on the weekend and even take calls during vacation. As a coach and a business owner you may not realize how little downtime you have and what that means for you.
Downtime actually makes you more productive. Following some downtime you are better able to focus and can finish tasks more quickly.
Adding some downtime can also make you more creative. If you are always focusing on what you need to get done, there is no time to allow creative thoughts to be present. It can also allow you time to pursue other passions which can help you to be more rounded and more creative.
Lowered stress and anxiety is a benefit of having some downtime. Without enough downtime you run the risk of burnout and not being able to turn off. You may help your clients to reduce stress and burnout, but is that coming at your own expense?
Improved physical health is also a benefit of downtime. The stress of always being busy can take a physical toll on your body. And many people enjoy exercise as part of their downtime which provides the known physical and mental benefits of physical activity.
How can you add some downtime to your life
How you get the most of your downtime will depend on if you are introverted or extroverted. An introvert might need time alone to recharge, while an extrovert will likely get more benefit from spending the downtime with other people.
You can schedule downtime throughout your week or your day. Maybe it’s a morning walk or run or a trip to the gym. Or you can add a meditation break to your daily routine. You might take a break and meet a friend for lunch.
Downtime should be a combination of planned and unplanned. You can schedule a vacation, making sure that you don’t take your work with you. Or add your exercise to your schedule so it doesn’t get left out. Signing up for a weekly yoga class may be what you need to make sure that downtime happens for you. On the other hand pay attention to your energy levels throughout the day and take a short break when you need one.
I like to take a walk when I’m feeling stuck or unproductive. I usually come back refreshed with a new perspective on what I was working on.
Make your downtime work for you. I’m an introvert that doesn’t like to sit still. So going for a quiet walk or run is an ideal way for me to spend my downtime, but it might not be the right choice for you.
Downtime with an online businesses
Many traditional businesses are seeing the benefits of making sure that employees are getting enough downtime. Some have added steps to make sure that employees are getting downtime and are seeing the improvements in productivity that occurs.
But with an online business, it is even more difficult to separate work life from home life. Here are a few tips to help make downtime a possibility with an online business:
•Keep a separate account for client and business related email and have set times that you look at this. You can even use an auto responder that tells the client when they can expect a response.
•Use a timer to plan short breaks throughout the day. You can work for 20 minutes, and take a break for 5 minutes. Pick the time that works for you.
•Make a change of scenery. Move to a different room or better yet get outside.
•Delete social media apps from your phone while you are on vacation
•Automate social media posts to go out while you are on vacation
•Consider what you need a break from. Sometimes it is the family responsibilities on top of the business that drag you down. If that is the case make sure you plan a vacation away from home on a regular basis.
•Hire a virtual assistant to look after customer service and other aspects of your business while you are on vacation
Getting downtime is important for your mental and physical health. It also helps to improve your productivity and creativity so you actually can get more done when you take breaks more often.