Episode 110: Intentionally Unproductive

Intentionally Unproductive

When was the last time you were intentional about being unproductive? When you intentionally built time into your schedule to take care of yourself? And not just taking that time, but actually using it to step away from work and truly rest?

So many entrepreneurs struggle with using time off effectively. We struggle to understand what true rest is and why it’s so important.

Now that I have a firm grasp of what it means to be intentionally unproductive, and why it’s so important, I’ve even created a 4-day workweek for me and my team. Imagine what that could do for you and your business if you had an extra day off every week to rest, recover and truly take care of yourself.

If you want to learn how to incorporate a 4-Day workweek into your business so that you can be more intentionally unproductive, download my free 4-Day Workweek guide HERE.


In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • The importance of effective time off
  • What NOT to do on your day off
  • Why you may still be tired after taking time off
  • How to intentionally plan time off

Hey, everybody, if you are listening to this, the week that this episode comes out, I am in the Bahamas on spring break with my family. And I thought that that would be the perfect time to drop an episode about being intentionally unproductive. I used to go weeks upon weeks without taking time off. Even once I started my own business, I found that, you know, I would just work and I would take maybe a vacation once a year where I took some time off. Even then there were probably times early on, where I took my laptop with me. If I didn't do that, in my business, I for sure remember doing that whenever I was back in my regular day job before my business, working as a marketing strategist for full service marketing agencies. That laptop stayed with me pretty much anywhere I went, it didn't matter if I took a day off from work or not, people would still reach out. And so I was just used to working all the time and didn't really have a clear understanding of what true rest was. But over time, I realized just how important that was. And now I'm intentional about scheduling some time off, I actually build into my contracts with clients that I could take up to four weeks off every six months. And that gives me time to take at least a trip every quarter with family for personal reasons. And then it allows me to take another trip roughly every quarter, that may be more work related, but where I still get to get away and think and spend some time on the business instead of in it. So at least having some time, once a quarter with no work involved is something that I highly value. And then beyond that I've built in a four day work week. And not just for me, but also for my team now. So we take Friday's off and use that time to rest. And I remember my transition to that Friday off being difficult. And still, from time to time find myself struggling with how to spend that time what to do. And I want to talk about all of those lessons today, I want to tell you all of the things that I've learned because one of the biggest things that I learned is that not all time off is effective time off. If you've ever found yourself on a Sunday night wondering where that weekend went. If you've ever taken a vacation with family and felt like you need a vacation from vacation, then there are a few things that may be happening. And you may be using time off in a way that really doesn't serve you, you need to remember that the goal of time off is to be intentionally unproductive, that's real time off time off isn't just time away. But still busying yourself, time off is rest. And so when people come to me and say that they're taking quote unquote, time off, but they still feel exhausted, overwhelmed, burnt out. It's usually because they're doing one of the four things that I'm about to tell you. The first is that they say they're taking time off, but their time off is still spent on their business. Some of this is more direct, like you say you're taking time off, but then you still decide to squeeze in a little bit of work. Maybe it's out of habit that you open your computer, maybe it's due to a lack of boundaries and your team and clients are still reaching out to you. And you get wrapped up in answering those instead of holding that boundary that they can wait until you're back in the office. Sometimes you just feel like you need to work and so you just work you say you're taking the day off, but you still do the things. Now other times you're spending your time on the business but it's not actually doing things. It's just thinking about it. You just can't shut your brain down. I remember it's been a few years ago that I went on a cruise, and it took me a good two to three days, I feel like to really wind down from just thinking about everyday life. And for me like on that cruise specifically, I didn't have access to the internet at all. So this may have not even been the cruise a couple of years ago, but more like five or six years ago, because I don't think that I had internet. And it took me a while to like, get used to the uncomfortableness, of not having access to social media, and email and all of that. And it was a really great thing I needed to experience it, but it just took me some time to wind down. Even without access to any of it, my brain was still going, still thinking and still in their habits are reaching for my phone to check for those messages to look at status of where projects were. And so if you're finding yourself taking time off, but still spending time, either doing things, or thinking about things that are business related, then that may be one of the reasons that you're not feeling the benefits of that time off. The second thing is that people say that they're taking time off. But then while they're taking time off, they're just judging themselves for not working. And they're stressing about what needs to be done. And they're worrying about how things are going when they're not there. And they spend the time feeling guilty for being unproductive. So there's a thought that they shouldn't even be taking time off that they should be working. And they struggle, not just with my first example above of where you just can't keep your mind off of work. But you actually are actively telling yourself that this is not a good thing you're using time off against yourself. And the thing is that time off can be used either for you or against you. And in this example, you're using it against yourself, you're telling yourself as unproductive that it's a waste of time that there are things that need to get done. And therefore you're not really resting. But I want you to know that true rest is never unproductive, I know that you're used to equating your value to achievement, at least for many of my clients. That's true. And so I assume that that may be true for some of you listening as well. You've attached your value to how much you're accomplishing how much you're working. And when you're resting, you're viewing that as unproductive as if that's a bad thing. And it may be unproductive in your definition. I think true rest is never unproductive in the grand scheme of things. What do you think about the goal of rest. And when you think about how much more productive you will be, after you've had that time off after you have restored and feel more relaxed, and are just refreshed and ready to get going again.

The third thing is that people say to me that they're taking time off, but then they're not actually resting. They may not be working at all. They may not even be thinking about work. But all of their days off are packed with errands and chores and taking care of every one else. They don't actually prioritize taking care of themselves. And truly, again, resting, you need rest. So if this is you if you're taking time off, but you're not actually recovering, then you need to set aside some time for you. You need to stop thinking that time off is a luxury, or the time off is selfish. And instead begin to realize that time off is a true necessity for your health and well being. Fourth is when they say that they're taking time off, but they're not really truly living. Instead, they're filling all of their time with mind numbing activities, things like just scrolling on social media or playing games on their phone, binge watching TV. Now, you can surely do all of those things. But if you're filling all of your time, with mind numbing activities, yeah, you may not be working but you're still completely disconnecting from filling your deeper needs. You're not showing up, to have fun to connect, to feel the way that you want to feel and to really enjoy every day. We all need those days. There's nothing wrong with scrolling on social media, binge watching an entire show, playing games on your phone, unless that's what you're doing all the time, and you're never truly living. So just be careful, take an audit of how you're spending your time. And see if you're actually taking your time off to do something that fills you up that lights you up, that replenishes and restores. If you've been doing any of these four things that I've talked about today, I want to encourage you, and I want to give you permission to take real time off, take time off to be intentionally unproductive, where you truly rest instead of pretending to take a day off and then working or thinking about work. judging yourself for being unproductive. Packing your day with other busy work or filling your time with mind numbing activities. Instead, take a day off and spend that time on things that fill you up. If you need to plan ahead, do so think about some things that you would want to do schedule some time to do something that's fun, or that self care, it could be as simple as taking a walk or, for me, I like to schedule a massage sometimes, or I just like to think about something that I'd like to read. That's not business related at all. And I like to plan those things. So I have something intended for that time off. And I don't simply default back to work. Maybe that's something that you need to do to plan how you're going to spend that time off instead of just waiting and, and seeing what happens because you're likely just to default back to work, or something else this busy or fill that time with things that aren't actually adding any value to your life.

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