Get The Most Out of Your Downtime: Learn to Slack

Woman leaning back & stretching in office chair

“Slacking off is wrong. You’re harming your progress whenever you’re taking breaks and not staying 100% focused on your goals.”

Have you heard this before?

It’s a common thing in the workplace and sometimes we end up applying this mentality in our personal lives as well. But what if I told you that the opposite is correct? What if you were to find out today that not only is slacking off morally right, but it helps you build that productivity that you lack?

When we remove downtime, we become less effective.

But before going deeper into this, let’s find out what slack is.

What is Slack?

Slack is when you have nothing scheduled. This sounds a bit counterintuitive in this fast-paced world we live in, doesn’t it?

What you need to understand is that when you have nothing scheduled to do, this allows you to take a step back from the rat race. You stop doing and start planning.

This helps you create a virtuous cycle: When we have more time, we make smarter decisions on how to use our time and we end up making smarter decisions.

So why is it important to have time to plan?

Because you are creating a downward spiral if you don’t have it. You find yourself buried in projects and jump from one task to the other without having that needed clarity in mind. You believe that you’re taking all the right steps, but you’re forgetting about an important one, which is taking time off.

Slack Is Required to Be Productive

Stop listening to online advice that tells you, “You need to be booked 100%”. This only creates a scarcity mindset that can become destructive in the long run.

How can you see the bigger picture when you’re buried in tasks all day long?

Often taking a step back is what you need to move forward.

4 Techniques for Building Slack

Use these techniques to build more slack into your day and start an upward spiral in your life and business:

  1. Add buffers
    Schedule buffer times in your day. Consider these shock absorbers in your day, use them to recharge and plan more effectively. Even a 10-minute buffer can give you the clarity you need for taking your next step.
  1. Mark tasks as bumpers
    Bumpers are optional tasks that you can skip in case your day doesn’t go well. Want to schedule your day at 100%? Go through your list and mark some of the tasks as bumpers. You can also use bumpers to introduce the concept of slack in your schedule.
  1. Schedule less
    Dealing with an overpacked schedule? No more bandwidth translates to less flexibility. This is where slack comes into play. If things don’t go to plan, we can adjust accordingly. A great way to implement this is to schedule your day to 60%. Stop seeing 100% as your ultimate goal. You are just tricking yourself into thinking that more productivity comes with it.
  1. Allocate more time
    Does your workout last 30 min? Allocate 45 min. If something doesn’t go according to plan, use that time to absorb that.

Adding Slack Requires Shifting Your Mindset

It will feel counterintuitive. You will also probably doubt that it works until you feel the effects.

Aiming for 100% efficiency is your enemy right now.

Unless you shift your mindset and accept that consciously implementing slack-off periods in your schedule, your productivity will suffer. Shift your mindset and accept that downtime in your schedule works for you and not against you. See your productivity grow once you embrace this model.

Use slack to do planning work, use your time more wisely and remove tunnel vision for better decisions.

Start today with the strategies described in this article and start seeing the benefits immediately.

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