3 min read

How to make space for high-quality downtime outside work

Creating high-quality restorative time outside of work is one of the single most important ways research and my experience says to prevent burnout from work.
How to make space for high-quality downtime outside work
Photo by Eugene Ga / Unsplash

Sustain issue #3 (Get Sustain in your inbox next Thursday)

This past week I had my first sprouts come up for snap peas I planted from seed! Very proud plant dad over here. I’ve gone all in on vegetable gardening this year. So far I have potatoes, strawberries, rhubarb, rosemary, artichoke, snap peas, romanesco, cauliflower, beets, spinach, kale, chard, carrots, bok choy, collards, and parsley in the ground. With more to come.

While the prep, watering, ongoing care, and weeding isn’t what I would call relaxing, I would call it restorative.

In my second wave of burnout several years ago, I spent time learning about life hacks from all the most influential bros I could find. It left me worn out from constantly re-optimizing my life around these unsustainable hacks.

I experienced burnout this way since my  time away from work wasn’t restorative. It was draining.

Gardening, on the other hand, gives me purpose, gives me something to look forward to (sprouts!), helps me focus on small daily inputs, and clear my mind.

There are no life hacks and hustle in gardening.

Restorative time for you will be different than restorative time for me. Customize your high-quality downtime using my Three Good Pockets for Daily Joy worksheet.

Creating high-quality restorative time outside of work is one of the single most important ways research and my experience says to prevent burnout from work.

The problem is, left to fend for ourselves we get sucked into low-quality time away from work -- if we’re able to actually log off. We get pulled into our phone and social media feeds, binge on Netflix, and then get lazy and order UberEats for the third time this week even though we told ourselves we’d actually cook.

And if we take time off, a MAJOR if in the last year, it’s likely filled with plenty of time checking in on work.

It’s no wonder we’re fried. We’re past the end of our fuse. We’re experiencing burnout.

This week, LinkedIn gave its 15,000+ global employees the week off to focus on well-being and to prevent burnout. Doing so, they make the clear point that a week’s worth of incremental profit and productivity is not worth driving employees into the ground and sacrificing the long-term health of the company. What a tremendous statement.  

“What we think is most valuable right now is time for all of us to collectively walk away," - Teuila Hanson, LinkedIn's Chief People Officer

This comes on the heels of Ireland last week signing a ‘Right to Disconnect’ law into practice where employees have the right to not work outside working hours. What a strange and groundbreaking concept lol.

Governmental and organizational policy are musts to end our burnout epidemic.  However, waiting for slow-moving top down approaches is not the only way to have downtime. The good news is we all have control. Take restorative downtime for yourself in pockets outside of work every single day and during regularly scheduled breaks away from work.

At a sustainable pace,

-Grant


Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?

Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to end burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it with no help of the hacky advice out there.

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