Four Formidable Things to Do during Your Downtime

December 29, 2016

Everyone knows it’s important to take time off from work, yet many people struggle to do so.  In fact, a Glassdoor survey revealed that the average American employee only takes half of their earned vacation or paid time off.

Unplugging every so often is essential to attain a healthy work-life balance.  To help you overcome any reservations you have about how best to spend your time off, here are four fantastic things to do during your downtime.

Harness a habit.  Dale Carnegie said, “Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy, but the worst habit you could possibly have.”  If you’ve got the winter blues, it’s easy to feel down and out during the holidays.  Instead, use the downtime to develop a good habit—whether it’s developing a new exercise routine or journaling before bed every night.  Experts concur that it takes 21 days to develop a habit, so you’ll have to continue working on it after you’ve returned to work.  If you’re not sure which habit to choose, list them along with respective potential impacts and select the habit that will have the greatest positive impact on your life. 

Play some podcasts.  If you’re among the more than 103 million Americans traveling this holiday season and have yet to listen to podcasts—you’re in luck!  Podcasts are an amazing way to pass time spent traveling—even while delayed, during the holidays and beyond.  Just be sure to download your preferred podcasts before you head out of town while you have WIFI or you may drain your data plan and battery.  If you want to improve your professional and personal relationships, check out a Dale Carnegie podcast.

Discuss what you do.  Disconnecting from work does not preclude you from discussing your vocation during your downtime.  In fact, your friends and family may be interested to hear what you do on a daily basis, and why you enjoy your profession.  Our jobs are such an important aspect of our lives, especially when you consider how often we work, so sharing information about our current roles and aspirational career goals can actually serve as a bonding exercise.  Depending on with whom you discuss your job, you may hear some new insights such as a new opportunity about which you were unaware.

Write thank-you notes.  On my desk sits a collage of my favorite thank-you notes sent by esteemed colleagues and clients.  They inspire and remind me to serve others to the best of my ability every single day.  Dale Carnegie’s second Human Relations principle, ‘Give honest, sincere appreciation,’ reminds us how important it is to show gratitude to others on a consistent basis.  If this practice is new to you, the holidays are a great time to get started!  Writing a note of sincere appreciation is an effective way to differentiate yourself from everyone else, regardless of whether you are thanking your best customer, boss, employee, a mentor or a mentee. 



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