The importance of downtime.

Good evening, timeboxers.

Today I’d like to talk about downtime and how I integrate it into my productivity system. If you’d like to see my schedule for the day you can click here.

When I talk to people about the way in which I’ve tried to design my life, I try to avoid the word “productive”. Sometimes I forget and it slips out but when it comes to lifestyle as a whole I prefer the word deliberate.

While being productive is absolutely essential to a fulfilling life it’s not realistic to expect to be productive 100% of the time. That’s neither healthy nor particularly desirable.

However, it is also true that, given chance, a little bit of rest and relaxation can turn into a lost evening on the couch with little rejuvenating effect. This can be frustrating and can frankly make us feel guilty. Guilt is the dirty flip side of the productivity coin and it is of paramount importance that we keep it under control. Guilt is not generally a healthy nor effective motivator.

So what can we do? Plan your downtime. It might seem absurd to schedule your fun. However, I’d argue that with a schedule comes ritual and with ritual comes purposefulness. A purposeful design for life makes it more enjoyable, not less.

One of the most valuable parts of the timeboxing method is that it gets your empire-building future brain to think about what’s best for you instead of the impulse-driven monkey brain that our present selves have to put up with. This also applies to recreation because, given the choice, your rational self would be unlikely to choose “mess around on tik-tok for 4 hours” but that’s sometimes where we find ourselves if left directionless.

So I won’t wish you a productive Sunday but I will wish you a deliberate one.

Steve Poulton
Founder @ Aika

Productivity expert, CTO of Coaching Culture and Founder of Aika.