Why Planned Downtime is So Important

Why Planned Downtime is So Important

Last week I went on a short vacation. My wife and I drove to east Texas, listened to an audiobook, enjoyed the small towns and slow pace of life, and drove back.

Vacations are a MUST, even for driven, dedicated, and focused entrepreneurs. Maybe especially for them.

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I love the hustle of work. I enjoy waking up, grabbing a cup of coffee, getting my morning updates from my Google Home, and jumping right into the business-building grind. I love it so much, I even enjoy business-building more than I enjoy sleeping sometimes.

But as I sit here on a Sunday afternoon, I can't help but appreciate the benefits of taking a vacation. See, for the past four days, I've only worked a total of about 5 hours. I had two mastermind calls on Thursday and I worked on a client's business this afternoon, but the rest of the time has been relaxing with family, even though they're not all related to me.

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One of my oldest and best friends lives in east Texas. We met in college and became roommates. We played World of WarCraft together and were the “best man” in each other's wedding. We've done business together, hired each other, and partnered with each other.

The relationship I have with my friend is why I don't like the saying, “you shouldn't do business with friends.” I mean, if you can't work with your friends, who are you going to work with, your enemies?

Well, that's stupid.

The health and wellness of your business will depend on your ability to step away, put down the cell phone or computer, and give your mind some rest. Your brain is a muscle, and like any muscle, it will get tired. You can't run it for days on end without a break, or, without major consequences.

Though I'm a big fan of putting in the work, going all-in and making sacrifices to build your business, I'm also a fan of planned downtime.

What is Planned Downtime?

To be successful, you have to own your calendar. As I wrote in my book, Exit Strategy, “if you don't own your calendar, it will own you.” Successful people take 100% ownership of what is and is not on their calendar, and that includes scheduling planned downtime.

With the help of Calendly, I plan my downtime and block off times to have fun. I don't allow anyone to schedule anything (including coaching and client calls) when I've reserved time for me.

And that's what last week's vacation was, planned downtime. I blocked the time off on my calendar, closed my laptop, and just had fun.

Something interesting happens when you give your brain the flexibility to wander. When you take your mind off of tasks and things that need to be done, your subconscious will find new solutions to existing problems. Our brains our powerful, and planned downtime gives them a chance to relax and the freedom to explore.

We played with my friend's kids, smoked a couple of cigars, had a few fancy meals, and took lots of pictures.

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These pictures were all taken with my Canon 80D. Read my camera review here.

People who're highly successful are very intentional with their time, and they guard their calendar like the valuable asset it is. I cherish my planned downtime and make sure I set time aside every week to play, have fun, and enjoy life.

I mean, let's be honest…

If we can't have fun, why are we working so hard in the first place?

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