Take A Break – 3 Downtime Tips from Successful Women


Do you make yourself a priority? Have you learned to put aside a little time for yourself on a regular basis? If not, this article offers advice you will want to consider – seriously.

As business women, we know just how much responsibility, pressure, and stress can fall on our shoulders and if we don’t set aside time to rejuvenate we will quickly experience the negative effects of stress which include health related issues.

So the first step is to recognize how important you are and to make a commitment to finding a way to schedule regular down time.

In an article from Fast Company, What Successful Women Have Figured Out About Downtime, the author, Gwen Moran, offers a number of things that successful business women do differently to ensure they have downtime in their lives. I want to focus on three of those:

1.  Schedule Downtime

date on calendarI have selected the early morning as my daily downtime. I get up 30 minutes before the household so that I can ease into my day. I use that time to think through the day’s commitments, obligations and specific tasks. I think through the calendar of myself as well as the rest of my family and what impact the day’s events will have on time. I catch up on reading that is important to me, enjoy a morning hot beverage and prepare myself so that I can be my best self in all aspects of the day.

From the article we learn:

Down time isn’t going to happen if you don’t carve out the time as sacred, says Glynnis MacNicol, co-founder of TheLi.st, a membership organization and information resource for influential women. She is also coauthor of The 10 Habits of Highly Successful Women. Whether it’s Tuesday yoga class or a long weekend away with friends, it’s blocked out on their calendars just as a board meeting or new business presentation would be.

“[Successful women], especially women with children, measure out their time the way one measure’s out ingredients for a cake. Their lives are very structured and pegged to routine,” says MacNicol.

2. They Are Clear On What Best Renews Them

For some, retail therapy is the best way to spend downtime for others it might be a glass of wine with a friend. Each of us has a unique way to relax and reboot; what is yours? The highly successful women understanding the importance and value of down time have clearly defined what helps to renew them.

It may not always be the same thing. For me, I enjoy the early morning, but I also enjoy scheduling the occasional weekend getaway with friends and so I make sure that at least one of those extended downtime events is on my calendar each year.

For others, exercise may be the best stress reliever and if that is the case for you, make sure you schedule time to hit the pavement for a brisk walk or join a gym for classes, weight training or a strong cardio workout.

Examine the different things you enjoy doing and make a list of the ones that are your favorites. Then make sure you include them in your schedule on a regular basis.

3. Understanding that Downtime is an Investment in YOU

This may be the most over looked and yet incredibly important tip that successful women have discovered.

Shed the guilt about taking time for yourself, and look at your downtime as something that pays greater dividends, Blank says. While some try to fool themselves by thinking they don’t need downtime, the reality is that everyone needs to take some time for herself. Not doing so hurts your focus, creativity, and effectiveness, she says.

“Taking time off from doing things for other people is an investment in ourselves that will allow us to be more effective and more productive in the future. Ultimately, that investment allows us to be more successful,” she says.

You make sure your car has regular oil changes, your children visit the dentist and pediatrician and your furnace is maintained each season; shouldn’t you invest in your own well-being?

Start Scheduling Down Time Today

If you are not currently taking a little time EACH DAY for yourself, you need to start making it a priority. Start small. If getting up earlier than everyone else is not an option, try taking a little time at lunch. Shut your office door. Turn off the mobile devices. Do not look at email. Just spend a few minutes for you. Read a chapter in a book. Do some yoga deep breathing exercise.

You are important! Make sure you make yourself a priority and enjoy a little downtime!

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JJ DiGeronimo

Speaker, Author & Thought Leader for Women in Tech & Girls in STEM.

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