7 Reasons Why Down Time is Not a Waste of Time

Fall semester is just around the corner! This means, for college students, life may get a little harder to balance. Parents have double duty with kids going back to school. Responsibility (ick, that WORD) may be barreling toward you at warp speed. But, that doesn't mean you have to turn into a workaholic. When you keep down time in your schedule, studies show it makes you more productive! Here's are seven reasons why chilling out does not mean you are slacking off.

1) Relaxation = Creativity: When you relax, carry a notepad and pen with you. Prepare to jot down ideas or inspirations you get. When your mind is clear, you are more open to inspiration. If you are ready to capture your genius ideas, suddenly that mid-week fun time is productive time.

2) Calm = Less Reactive: If you are calm, you are less reactive when life throws you a curve ball. Crazy deadline? Too much on your plate? No problem! Take time for yourself and you will have the ability to pause and calm yourself when life gets hectic.

3) Less Stress = Work Faster: When you are not stressed, your brain functions better. This allows you to work faster and (gasp) get more done in less time. 

4) Better Scheduling = Balance: A balanced life is not a myth. Keep a calendar and color code it.

Yellow = Fun

Red = Must Do, Like School or Hot Assignments

Purple = Health, Spiritual (I like to put yoga and meditation time in purple)

Make your calendar your own. Also, don't beat yourself up if you miss something. Just stay on top of the Red stuff and make sure to put as much yellow and purple into your life as possible. You can come up with other colors and categories, too. Green is a great color for money-making activities, like work.

5) Down Time = Expanded Social Circle: I always meet people when I am out doing things. Usually those new people will add something to my life. I might find a new client. Or, I may learn something. You might even run into someone who used to have your professor or worked at your company and can give you some tips.

6) Connecting with Nature = Centering: Are you wrestling with a tough problem? Take a break! Spend time in nature and take note of how it affects you. Take a deep breath when you are outdoors. You may notice that you center and find a solution more quickly than if you fixate on the same problem indoors. A quick walk around your school, work, or neighborhood can have meditative benefits. This small action can help you face your issue.

7) Play = Happy and Healthy: When you allow time to play, dopamine releases and creates a happy feeling. Of course, the biggest bonus is this. You have to move to play. People who play are more healthy. They also, on average, weigh less than those who do not allow time for active play in their schedules.

So, go ahead, put some down time in your schedule. You may think you don't have time to do it. But, in all truthfulness, you will save time if you do.