Use your downtime more wisely and you’ll become a more productive person. Before you object to that advice on the grounds that you have little or no downtime to use, realize that’s probably not true.
A lot of people think of downtime as a chunk of freedom. They think it’s an afternoon or a whole day settled into some quiet place without demands from family or work.
And those certainly are a couple of examples. But many of us rarely, if ever, get that much at once downtime at once.
What we do get more often than we recognize are free moments that come in smaller amounts and different forms.
For example, say you call a friend who is on a train or a bus and ask,” hey what are you doing?”
Usually, you’ll get an answer like, “I’m on my way to meet a client.” “I’m going shopping.”Or, “I’m headed to the doctor.”
Whatever the specifics, usually what you get is an answer that makes it sound like the person’s time is currently occupied. In reality, when you’re commuting via public transportation, you’re doing nothing until you arrive at your destination unless you choose to do something.
It’s a prime example of overlooked downtime.
That’s why when you look around, you’ll see some people reading, watching YouTube, texting and talking. Then you see some others idly riding. They all have free moments. They all have a choice of how to use them.
One way to find more downtime in your life is to realize that downtime can occur while another activity is in progress.
Another way to identify free moments is to search in-between other activities. When you look at it broadly, your days may seem jam-packed, with one thing coming after the next. It may seem like you’re operating at capacity. But there are often small parcels of downtime in your schedule.
You may not recognize it because like the person on the train, you probably have a habit of focusing on what you have to do next instead of focusing on what you could do now.
When you say, I only have 15 minutes before the kids get off the bus or 15 minutes before my next meeting, what you’re not saying is I have 15 minutes of downtime.
That choice of wording affects how you view that time. And how you view time affects how you use it.
If you have to be at work at 8 and you arrive at 7:48, that gives you 12 minutes to use as you please. A lot of people view such small amounts of time are irrelevant or petty. They don’t think it’s enough time to get things done.
If that was true, you probably wouldn’t bother to get to work early. The reason you don’t come strolling in 12 minutes late every day is because in the eyes of a business time, even small amounts are very relevant.
People lose their jobs over five or 10 minutes because business-minded people realize time equals productivity, and productivity brings profit and progress.
Three 10-minute slivers are half an hour. Believe it or not, if you devoted an additional 30 minutes a day to your business, and used that time wisely, you would get a lot more done. It doesn’t matter if the time is chopped up and spaced out.
If want to be more productive, audit your life, find downtime, and use it wisely.
Related: How The Process Blocks Progress