Happy (scary) downtime!
Since becoming a solopreneur, I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of waiting.
Waiting for clients to send feedback. Waiting for prospects to commit. Waiting for checks to clear.
Waiting creates downtime. And downtime—because it's so utterly unfamiliar and therefore excruciatingly uncomfortable—can create stress.
Merriam-Webster defines downtime as “time during which production is stopped, especially during setup for an operation or when making repairs.”
When I had a full-time employer, I attended several meetings a day. All were scheduled on the hour. And all ran 60 minutes long.
No wonder it’s so disconcerting to have gaping holes in my schedule—of minutes, or hours, or days.
But nurturing a new business—like raising our kids or training a pup—is a long game. And how we show up is how we end up.
So it helps to be mindful of what we need. And when we need it.
In his new book—When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing—Daniel Pink explains that we all have patterns in mood and productivity. We have peaks, troughs, and periods of recovery.
On NPR, Pink said, “We're better off doing the analytic task during the peak, administrative stuff during the trough…During this third period, the recovery, we're actually pretty good at more creative things 'cause we're in a slightly better mood, but we're less inhibited.”
Okay. That explains why at certain times we can only noodle with our analytics or gather our receipts. And at other times, we can teach ourselves new software or maybe write a blog.
But Pink doesn't mention the downtime. When we stop production for a moment. Surrender to the stillness. Build our reserves.
Downtime a great gift. And it’s also a test.
What we do with it truly matters.