Down time Is Essential for Peak Performance

We all have a need for down time. We need time to do whatever we want to do–rest, read, play on the computer, visit friends, anything that is pleasurable and gives us a break from the many essential tasks of living. I have a hunch that if we don’t make enough time in our busy schedules to take a break, we find ways to take it anyway or we pay for not doing it by being only halfway present for essential tasks.

What may look like poor time management could really be an expression of insufficient down time. You fritter away an afternoon at work, spending more time than is necessary on email and surfing the web. You are exhausted and what you really need is a mental health day. Instead you show up and take the time anyway, procrastinating doing essential tasks, instead playing on the computer.

Imagine having worked for weeks with no quality down time. It’s time to put together an important proposal. How well are you going to be able to work? The part of you that is committed to your survival is going to wage war against the dutiful part of you. You may not procrastinate by wasting time, but it’s quite possible that you will only be able to attack the proposal with half the energy and focus that you would give to it if you were really rested. And, the proposal may get done, but its quality may be half what it could have been–the price you pay for not scheduling sufficient down time.

Have you heard the saying, “We teach first that which we must learn?” I’m writing about this challenge as much for me as for you! It’s time to make down time as essential as going to work!

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