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Making The Most Of Your Off Time

Published 12/7/2015

In today's episode, we discuss how to make the most of your off time.

Mentioned in today's episode

Today's episode is sponsored by OneMonth.com! One Month is the first ever online school specifically for tech entrepreneurs. Enroll now at onemonth.com/developertea for 25% off your first month.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and today I'm going to be talking about how to make the most of your off time. Thank you to today's sponsor 1month.com. If you are looking to learn how to code and you don't know where to begin, 1 month is a fantastic option for you and they are offering a special deal for Developer Tea listeners. We will talk more about that later on in today's episode. At first I want to dive into the topic of off time. Off time can be a valuable and incredibly important part of our professional lives. Rest is definitely one of the most important parts of our lives. For example, sleeping is absolutely fundamental to the learning process. Resting is something that typically occurs at specific times in our lives. So for example, after our working day is complete or perhaps before your work day begins, depending on your habits and your working style, we tend to rest then. We also rest on the weekends. There's usually an off day or two. Your weekend may not necessarily be a Saturday or Sunday but usually people have an off day in a given week. Then we also have holidays. Now you may be aware that holidays are coming up and that's actually the inspiration for this episode was I'm thinking about the holidays and how to take advantage of my off time in the most healthy way and the most productive way. Now you may be thinking, well, why would you be thinking about being productive in your off time? And the reality is I think we have the definition of productive a little bit skewed. When I say productive in my off time, I don't mean that I want to be productive for my job. I mean necessarily that I want to be productive even for this company, for a developer to your first spec. What I really mean is that I want to be productive for myself as a human being. I want to be productive for my health. I want to be productive just in general for those days. I don't want those days to be wasted. I don't want to look back on them and wish I had done something differently with them. So today I want to talk about four ideas that we can keep in mind when we are about to be starting an off time period in our jobs. And really I'm talking about a period that's longer than a couple of minutes, right? Of course we have the five to ten minute breaks at work. Your tea break, hopefully, is when you're listening to this. But really these ideas apply to the larger chunks of time like a couple of days, for example, or perhaps even your weekends. So that's what this episode is discussing. When we have extended periods of rest away from work, we should be mindful of the importance of the opportunities those periods provide. And we should take advantage of them. Of course this is my opinion. Some people are totally okay with letting those go to waste. I would imagine that if you're listening to this show, you are not okay with letting anything go to waste. You're not okay with letting time, especially go to waste. The truth is a lot of people accidentally view rest or off time as a total escape from mental engagement. Some view rest as mindlessly halfway, engaging social media or just watching TV because they didn't plan their rest time. They didn't think about it before it came up. And the TV was the most accessible screen nearest to them. So that was what they decided to do. This is a very common pattern for people to follow. Another very common pattern is to accidentally let their work cross over the boundary into their off time and work when they otherwise should be or would be resting. And working in this case means catching up on their professional work that is a part of their normal everyday jobs. So I want to discuss these four ideas that you should keep in mind over a break period. For example, in the upcoming holiday season, to take advantage of your time, to take advantage of your off time. So let's jump right in. Number one, treat your rest days with the same level of intentionality as your work days. Now am I saying that you need to have the same schedule? Am I saying that you need to be mentally engaged in something serious necessarily? No, not at all. If you need a complete digital sabbatical or perhaps you want to take a day to binge watch some Netflix shows, that's definitely a part of rest and it's a part of life and you should be able to do that. But I would challenge you to make those choices very mindfully. Not on the spot, not accidental, not because you don't have anything better to do, but instead because you are choosing to spend your time that way. Remember that these off times are the perfect opportunity, for example, to engage in hobbies or side projects, spring cleaning or cultivating your relationships. And so if you choose to watch a Netflix show, to binge watch a Netflix show, just remember that that time could otherwise be used to do other things that aren't work. Right? This is an obvious trade off. And it's difficult for us to remember that in that moment because we may feel tired or we may feel entitled to that binge watching. And again, there's nothing necessarily wrong with binge watching Netflix shows. What happens though, unfortunately, is that we binge watch a Netflix show and then we look back on it the next day or the next week or the next month and we realize that was the perfect opportunity for me to clean out my, clean out my attic, for example. That's something that I personally, by the way, I want to get done over the holiday season. That would have been a perfect opportunity for me to clean out my attic, but instead of planning to clean out my attic, I just mindfully binge watched something on Netflix. That is the worst feeling when you get on the other side of a break to have not planned the break well. Now, the second thing to keep in mind, and it goes right along with number one, and that is that rest does not necessarily mean idleness. We have to be able to look at these two concepts and separate them from each other. It can be very easy to work to the point of exhaustion right before a break and then suddenly feel like rest necessitates that our mind becomes idle. This seems like the natural reaction. We work incredibly hard and then we give our brains a deserved break. And it's easy to perceive idleness as rest, but in fact, healthy rest can be active and engaging for your mind. It's also possible that your rest actually needs to be only for your mind, but not necessarily your body. It could be that your body is actually tired because you haven't been exercising it well enough and it has adapted to that very sedentary lifestyle that is so common for Developer To fall into. And we'll talk a little bit more about cultivating habits. That's a little bit of a preview for another point in today's episode, but it's important to realize that rest does not mean sitting and being idle. And again, let me reiterate that there are times where sitting and being idle is totally fine. And in fact, if you are being idle intentionally, that's even better. If you are practicing some form of meditation, that is good for you. That's actually healthy for you. But do it on purpose. Do it mindfully. So that wraps up our first two points. Now I'm going to talk to you a little bit about today's sponsor and then we'll get on to the other two points. Today's sponsor is one month. One month is the first ever online school that is specifically built for tech entrepreneurs. One month students learn how to build and grow real world products similar to Instagram or Pinterest while using tools like GitHub, Heroku, Optimizally, Mixpanel, and a ton of other amazing tools. This isn't about college or a degree, it's about applied learning, things like growth hacking, programming for non programmers, iOS development with Swift, HTML, CSS, content marketing, Ruby on Rails, Python, jQuery, tons of practical knowledge that you would get from one month. And the best part is if you get stuck, there's always someone to help you out while you're building and growing your product. A real person from one month will help you out. So you can enroll now by going to one month.com slash Developer Tea. Normally enrollment is $49 a month, but if you join now, you will receive your first month for 25% off. And of course, by going through that special link, you are helping support Developer Tea. So start building your future at one month.com slash Developer Tea. It takes 15 minutes a day, you can do it right from your own home. And remember, there's always a real person to help you out if you get stuck. One month.com slash Developer Tea. And of course, that will be in the show notes, along with all the other notes from today's episode at spec.fm. Speaking of today's episode, let's jump straight back into the four points, the four ideas that you should keep in mind over a break period, over your off time. Again, holidays are coming up and the last thing that you want, the worst feeling is to get into the new year, you know, how we all make new years resolutions and to look back at our holiday off time and to regret something, right? Whether that is that you didn't feel like you connected with your family because you were on Instagram the whole time. That happens to so many people each and every year. I guarantee it. Or maybe you just wanted to read a book or you wanted to catch up on something that you didn't catch up on. And it's so important to remember that our off time should and can be utilized in a way that is productive for us, whether it's for our health or for some goals that we have for ourselves. Maybe you want to build a side project. Your off time is a perfect time to do that, but it doesn't happen on its own. You are not accidentally forced into doing the things that you want to do. You have to choose to make good use of your time off. You have to choose to actually engage in the things that you want to engage in. Now, there's a difference in accidentally engaging in something and intentionally engaging in something. And my challenge to you is to be intentional. Number one, the first idea was treat your rest days with the same level of intentionality as your work days. Number two, rest does not mean idleness. You do not have to be doing absolutely nothing. You do not have to be laying on the couch with nothing in your brain to be resting. That is not a necessity for you to feel rested and recharged. So number three, queue up the content or the activities or the ideas that you want to participate in. Cue them up in advance of your off time. Make them ready for yourself. Take them down in some kind of list format, whether it's a notebook or an app that you use to take notes. Take them down and keep them in mind and available so that when your off time is coming up, you don't have to come up with something on the spot for you to do. You have a whole list of ideas and you pick one that you've been putting off, for example. Like I said earlier in the episode, I need to clean out my attic. So I have that on my list of things that I want to do in my off time. So Pertuue, of course, is something that I do in my off time. And again, I don't accidentally do Developer Tea. I do it every single week. I don't miss episodes because I take the time in my off time to be intentional about recording these episodes for you to listen to. So queue it up. Make it available to you in some format. I personally often encounter content that I want to engage further, but because I don't keep track of it or because I don't have time at that moment, I usually end up forgetting about the videos or articles or the books that I wanted to revisit. So as you encounter those things in your day to day life, if you don't have time or you don't, if you don't plan to do that particular activity or watch that particular documentary, for example, put it on a list so that the next time your breaks come around, you have a list of activities that you do want to engage in. For example, consider reading something outside of your normal content tendencies. If you don't normally read fiction, but you're interested in something, read a fiction book that you haven't had time to read yet. I'm hoping to pick up the Martian and read it over my break. Watch a documentary on Netflix or perhaps there's a movie that you've been wanting to watch that's on your list. Your off time is a perfect time to do that. Again, the point of being productive in your off time doesn't mean that you can't do fun things. It doesn't mean that you can't enjoy yourself or do things that are not necessarily productive, monetarily for you. Do the things that are entertaining for you. There is real value in entertainment. Don't avoid entertainment just because you feel the conviction of trying to be a productive individual. There is something very important about choosing to do things that you enjoy in your life. That is an incredibly important part of your rest time, but doing it in such a way that is intentional. Once again, is the point. Number three was queue up your content and your activities that you want to take part in in advance of your actual break in advance of your off time. Number four, use your time off to jumpstart a good habit. Use your time off to jumpstart a good habit. One of the most common excuses for not cultivating a habit, for example, going to the gym, is that you don't have time. If you want to, for example, read every day. Start reading every day on your break. If you want to exercise or floss or express gratitude every day, start doing that on your break. If you want to cook dinner every day, the break is the perfect time to cook dinner every day. That off time is intended to be restful. This means that when you return to your work, you should feel energized, not worn out or exhausted. Cultivating healthy habits are a prerequisite to consistent energy and a positive mood. Getting enough sleep, building a good diet, creating an exercise pattern for your daily life. These things are fundamental steps towards higher productivity, towards higher energy, and these are the things that people often say they don't have time for. But when you have off time, you do have time for it. You can no longer make the excuse that you don't have time for that good habit. And resting also doesn't mean breaking your good habits. If you choose to eat horribly during your off time as a part of your resting habits, then you're going to come back to work feeling awful. And the truth is we like to have these ideas for the new year, for example, that we're going to create a resolution that we're going to go to the gym or we're going to start eating healthier or we're going to get a stand up desk and stand most of the day. But again, the most common excuse for not cultivating a healthy habit is that you don't have time. Now when you go back to work, when you return to work at the beginning of the new year, you aren't going to have any more time. Your schedule typically doesn't change drastically from before the new year. And suddenly you've tried to create a new habit with the same restrictions on time that you had before. Instead, if you jump start that habit, if you start that habit when you do have the extra time, my bet is that you're going to be much more successful because you no longer have the excuse of not having enough time. So that wraps up our four points for today. Number one was treat your rest days with the same level of intentionality as your work days. Number two, rest does not mean idleness. Number three, queue up the content or the activities in advance of your off time. Don't just let it creep up on you. And number four, use your off time to jump start a good habit. Ultimately, if you walk away with one idea, it's that you shouldn't let your break creep up on you without thinking about it, without being intentional about that break time. Even if you are intentionally deciding to binge watch whatever Netflix show you want to watch, treat it with intentionality, go into it knowing how you want to spend that time. That is incredibly important to making sure that you feel as productive as possible during your off time for your health and for your own mental state. Thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea today and thank you to one month dot com. If you are wanting to be a tech entrepreneur, one month dot com is a fantastic place to start. You will learn tools like GitHub, Heroku, optimizely mix panel. You'll learn languages like HTML and CSS, iOS, develop those Swift, etc, etc. Lots of really interesting things and all of it is practical information. Go to one month dot com slash Developer Tea. Of course, that will be in the show notes. You get 25% off your first month by using that link. Thank you for listening to today's episode. I hope you take some time to plan your off time. Be sure you subscribe to Developer Tea and whatever podcasting app you use and leave us a review. If you are enjoying the show that is the best way to help the show out and it's the best way to help other developers just like you find Developer Tea. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.