Have you ever found yourself with downtime and wondered, “What should I be doing?” Last weekend I found myself with an unexpected afternoon and evening to myself. The question, “What should I do,” never entered my mind. The question I was left with was, “What do I do first?”
My normal To Do List was a mile long with left-over stuff from the previous day still needing attention and the When I Have Time List was calling my name. I suspect you're in much of the same position. Down time is really an illusion when the endless list of things needs your attention with or without little ones running around.
When There's Time
You say it. You think it. There is always something you want to do but don't have time to tackle. I keep a list of things that I'd like to do when there's time. It isn't routine stuff or periodic things but extras like watching online teachings, messing around with the sewing machine and scrapbooking. I do write down projects that would be “nice” to complete like reorganizing bookshelves or closets. Create yourself a When There's Time list and stick it in your planner for those rainy days.
Having a When There's Time list is key to a productive time alone. Include things like:
- Simple household projects
- Books to start or finish
- Online classes or podcasts you want to listen to
- Teachings you missed from church or from Youtube that you want to watch
- Craft projects
- Research projects
Define Your Downtime
But what if I don't want to be productive? That's okay too. It's important for you to define what refreshing, successful downtime looks like. Do you really need to catch up on reading or sewing? Is there a mound of laundry that you just want to finish up and put away? Is a long quite bath and hot cup of tea what you really want? Perhaps your spirit is urging you to just be with the Lord in candlelit quiet. Your When There's Time list is yours. Not your mom's, your sister's or the pastor's. How do you define a productive downtime?
Your time alone does not have to be defined by constant productivity.
If you want to sit still and quiet because that's what your soul needs, go for it! Give yourself permission to do something out of the ordinary. You aren't a bad wife, homemaker or mother if you decide that you want to watch an uninterrupted 45 minutes of uplifting television. You know what you need to recharge.
What needs your attention
There is always something that needs done. I find it rare that time alone leaves me wondering what to do with myself. Before you jump into a lengthy list of activities take a few moments to hear from God and assess what would be the best use of your time. Multitasking can be your friend. Laundry can be washing or drying while you're threading the bobbin and a bath can be a great time to relax and spend time with God.
Use a timer
To balance necessities and niceties a timer is a great thing. Before I even get to do anything “downtime” related I still feel I need to take care of any unfinished everyday stuff. Give yourself 20 or 30 minutes to do a routine clean and straighten. Then, move on to other things. If you think you'll get lost in a project that you don't want to work on all day, set a timer.
Having a plan or at least a list helps keep you moving forward even if forward is a nice long nap. Start writing your When There's Time List today so you're prepared for your next chunk of free time.