(Down)Time Management

Something I’ve discovered about myself since I got out of grad school is that I’m bad at downtime management. Time management is something I’m great at: I worked two jobs while in school full time. Give me tasks at work or assignment deadlines and I am on it. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do all-nighters or feel the pressure of the clock ticking away, but that’s just a reality of deadlines. My skill of Downtime management, however, is another story.

When I moved back to Ohio after graduating I transferred back with my retail job… and its closest store is an hour away from where I currently live. I cut back on my hours to devote as much time as possible to job searching (I can’t tell you how many times I was told, “Job searching is a full time job! heh heh!” Heh. I knoooooow.) That luckily paid off, but I realized one day that I had some downtime issues when I had been up since 8:00am and before I knew it, it was suddenly 5:15pm… where the day had gone?

I am an advocate for Lazy Day Appreciation. No matter what the circumstances are or what the weather is, everyone is entitled to Lazy Days – living in their own guilt-free world where yeah, maybe it’s one of the first beautiful Spring days and they need to clean out their car, do four loads of laundry, and finally fix that shutter that’s been hanging on by a single hinge since last summer, but they get a free pass to do none of it. Just because.

I now realize I’ve been abusing the downtime, Lazy Day system. Like government (supposedly), downtime can only be enjoyed properly through checks and balances. “Too much of a good thing” is a real thing. When I had actual time management to worry about, my very limited downtime was spent joyously unproductively. When I had a few months at my disposal I got rid of the checks and balances, living days at a time where there weren’t any new openings to apply to and throughout the day I had basically accomplished nothing.

Sadly, to me at least, I now realize that even downtime must be properly taken care of. If I get two days off in a row I feel like it’s a week vacation – but now that I’m an adult (when did that happen?) I have to actually do things with the downtime I’m given so that I can really, truly enjoy some of those Lazy Days that are becoming more rare as I’m getting older with a potential-career thing going on.

A big change I need to make? Get out of the habit of using downtime as Netflix time. I could probably read 15 books a month if I just stopped watching Netflix. I could paint some rooms. Paint some canvases. Write some stories. Clean my car.

“But, but, Sister Wives! I must stream Sister Wives!” No, self. I do not.

I don’t watch a ton of actual T.V. and when I get my own place I have no intention of getting cable – but when it comes to DVDs and Netflix, it’s like I’ve entered The Black Hole Of Time. I need to teach myself that having an entire day off of work doesn’t mean my entire day needs to be downtime. Even during the aftermath of a snowstorm, like I’m in today. But I have to admit… it feels good.

xx. ls