Downtime: The productivity of Doing Nothing

Today is the last day of a much-needed vacation. After a year of full-on travel, I decided to give myself the gift of downtime. No airplanes. No emails. No phone calls or meetings. Just lots of rest, daydreaming, relaxation, movies, reading good books, sleeping late, laughter, and long, lazy visits with friends.

Downtime is essential to restoring creativity, imagination, energy, and perspective. It’s so easy to get swept up by the flow of a busy life that we forget to stop and see if the current is moving in the right direction. Your willingness to pull back from life every now and then to rest and reflect, will impact the choices you make – both personally and professionally. A meaningful life unfolds when we get in the habit of checking in on ourselves by asking questions like:

  • Am I really happy with how I’m spending my time?
  • Do I feel good about the progress I’m making in life?
  • Am I getting my needs met on a regular basis?
  • Am I growing & becoming a better person?
  • Do I laugh enough?
  • Do I feel moved & inspired by my life?
  • Am I stimulated & challenged by friends & colleagues?
  • Am I actually spending time on what I say matters most?
  • Is my life contributing to others in a significant way?

The answers to these questions determine the level of fulfillment, meaning, and satisfaction your life delivers. And in the end, it’s the only delivery that counts. I’m off to ponder the above questions and I hope you’ll join me.  To get started, just schedule an hour sometime during the week for a long walk and take a couple questions with you. Then, consider a longer period of time with a notebook and pen in hand.

The quality of your life depends on it… 

Take Action Challenge

Print out the questions above to use during your next scheduled downtime. Oh, and be sure to schedule it in your calendar, too smiley2. This week’s video invites you to create a very important daily exercise that will instantly improve the quality of your life. 

Be brave, be curious, and be amused. You can watch it here. Have fun!





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Author Information

Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the author of The New York Times bestselling books, Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace and her new book The Art of Extreme Self Care. She was the first president of the International Coach Federation and holds one of their first Master Certified Coach credentials.

Books from Cheryl Richardson

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Stand Up for Your Life Cover image
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Turning Inward (Journals) Cover image
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