Downtime and deadlines…do you know the difference?

December 22, 2017


What was your initial thought when you saw the above image[1]? Was it:


(a)   That looks like absolute bliss to me and I felt my body relax. 

(b)   Looks amazing, but I know I’d be worrying about work every day.

(c)   I don’t have time for that.


Crunch times are hard, intense…and feel endless. As we have established above, even when paradise is staring you in your face, it’s hard to recognise it for the simple downtime it is intended to represent. So when you are in your day-to-day routine, it’s even harder to identify and appreciate the much needed pause in the constant urgency you face as a leader.


Downtime is an essential element of crunch time.


Downtime doesn’t (always) mean lying down and doing nothing. It often just means shifting down a few gears and working at a less-than-manic pace. It means getting caught up with your network, industry news, your friends. It means letting the creativity come back into your work so that you can be even better next time.


Downtime takes courage.


Courage to recognise it, courage to call it out and courage to modify your behaviour so you get the regenerative benefit required to be at your best when crunch time does hit. We know that it’s the last element of courage that’s the hardest during crunch times.


Crunch time keys:

  • Downtime is an essential element of crunch time. However, it won’t be handed to you. It’s up to you to create it.

  • If you respond to moments of leisure, pleasure or play with ‘I don’t have time for that’, now is exactly the time.

  • Have the courage to protect your downtime and don’t feel the need to fill it with ‘should dos’ for others.


As the holiday season closes in, appreciate that it’s not always crunch time. Use this time to recharge so your next crunch time is your best.


Have a restful break and I look forward to working alongside you in 2018!



About Alena: Alena works with leaders and their teams to connect technical and leadership skills so they can deliver to deadline without killing their people. She is a mentor, trainer, facilitator and coach. Contact her today on


[1] Photo taken whilst enjoying some of my own downtime in Tonga with my family



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