THE INC. LIFE

4 Ways to Get Ahead During Your Downtime

Do more when you’re required to do less

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BY Pauline Mendoza - 01 Jun 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

We are all often consumed by urgent tasks. Start-up founders, for one, rarely get some downtime. Still, every once in a while, things slow down a bit, and these huge and urgent tasks get done one by one. Now we tend to think, what am I going to do with this free time?

The good news is there are endless ways to make the most out of your free time. Here are four of them:

1. Refresh and plan

“Sometimes we get so stuck in the grind, we forget why we started the business in the first place. The white space or a quiet place allows you to reconnect with that deeper reason and get back on track,” writes Ekaterina Walter, author of The Power of Visual Storytelling, in this Inc. article.

During your downtime, sit back, relax, and reflect on your goals. Assess what you’ve done so far. Strategize and think of ways on how you can improve your current work process or routine. Taking advantage of this free time through planning and revisiting your key goals can ultimately help you during the next crunch time.

2. Get creative and explore your other passions

The ability to be creative is one of the things that makes us human. Don’t hesitate to explore your creative passions. Even if you are in the creative side of the industry, you can still try other activities you’ve never tried before. Giving yourself time to be creative may lead to your next eureka moment.

“Most of the time our brains are expected to produce solutions or analyze, especially during high priority cases, but during downtime, that is the time that pure creativity can kick in or in some points, we assess how we are moving ahead versus our objectives,” says Arvi Lopez, head of branding and public relations at ALTUS Digital Capital, a private equity firm that invests in start-ups in emerging markets, in this Inc. Southeast Asia piece.

3. Read

Learning is a continuous process and reading will open up the mind to a whole new world of ideas that will guide you in your entrepreneurial journey.

In entrepreneurship, we know that mentorship is important. Just like having a mentor that can talk to us face-to-face, reading can give us so much information and can even tell us first-hand experiences from people whom we want to emulate. Check out books about the world’s most interesting people or ones that put forward thought-provoking ideas. Even that romantic novel you’ve wanted to read may give you a flash of insight.

4. Catch up on the essential-but-not-so-urgent tasks

When we’re caught up in the pressure of the daily grind, we tend to always prioritize the urgent tasks—and most of the time, it becomes like this every single day without having the time to do those essential-but-not-so-urgent things. These are things like testing a new strategy, cleaning and reorganizing files, new methods of doing a certain thing, and the list goes on.

Ask yourself today what is that thing in your work or business that you think is essential and good to have, but you keep on putting off. Use your downtime to finally catch up on those tasks, so you can pat yourself on the back later for being more productive than ever—even if you’re required to do less.