Planning for free time might seem like the least of your planning woes. Just being able to cram in enough to meet your deadlines and make it through the working day is often hard enough! But here’s the thing – if you are thinking about things in this way, you’re going about it all wrong. In fact, you should base your tasks around your free time, not the other way around!
This is not to say that you should never limit the amount of free time to allow you enough time to get your tasks done, but it does mean thatafter this consideration, you should make sure the time you have allotted for free time is held sacred.
This is because without proper and defined periods for rest, the quality of the work you do when actually working, or your productivity when seeing to tasks, takes a serious hit. Seen in this way, being sure to plan for free time isn’t only about giving yourself a break (though there is certainly nothing wrong with that), it is about working better too.
The alternative is burnout, and that’s an endpoint you should avoid at all costs. Burnout itself is pretty easily recognized. It is difficult not to notice when you are suffering from exhaustion, mood issues, lack of sleep, and everything else associated with it, but it can be difficult to tell when it’s on its way, to recognize the symptoms.
That’s a topic for another day but suffice it to say a major part of planning for free time is being able to avoid burnout. And it is also about avoiding the feeling of being overwhelmed, which is usually the preliminary stage to burnout.
Next Level Daily, a company providing pdf daily planners specifically for those with ADHD, note that this shows how important avoiding it is. A feeling of being overwhelmed by everything is a symptom of ADHD, and that is why there are specific planners to help those suffering from the condition avoid it.
But it’s not just individuals with ADHD, avoiding the point of being overwhelmed should be the goal of everybody’s planning.
Tips for Planning for Free Time
To make matters worse, this is a problem that is all too common today. With information technology allowing people to communicate constantly, it is harder to get away from work, even if we can now work more efficiently. Nevertheless, you need to get away from it, and on a regular schedule. Here are some tips to help with that:
Include it in a Timetable
And that means taking a rest at the same time every day. When your free time is regular, it is much easier to base everything else around it. Of course, you should work out how much free time you should actually give yourself each day. But stick to it.
Consider the Possibility That You’re Working Too Much
If you get to work on the above and find that your tasks simply don’t allow you to have daily free time, then it’s likely you’re working too much. You might want the money and be committed to your job, but this is notgoing to end well.
Give Yourself Leeway
Even if you plan for free time, you could find that you sometimes have too much to do on a particular day. Therefore, it is better to plan for slightly more free time than you need. That way you can accommodate the days when you have more to do.
Free time isn’t working, but it’s essential for effective working. Neglect it at your peril.