By Jim Wong, CPA | October 19, 2016

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you`ll look back and realize they were the big things.” – Kurt Vonnegut

For some of today’s corporate professionals, slowing down and enjoying hard-earned downtime is merely a daydream. Sure, we all wish for a break every now and then, but for some individuals, it’s simply too difficult to step away from their desks. Being able to fully leave work, at work, can be difficult for some—however, it’s important to attempt to do so every now and then.

In fact, some of the most successful people are the ones who understand the importance of their downtime, time not spent on work tasks. Instead of working 24/7, many successful people choose to spend their downtime on other important, fulfilling activities. What’s important though, is to understand how these outside commitments might positively affect mood, inspiration, and even, productivity.

I recently read an article that discusses this topic. I wanted to share some of the points in the article as well as a few thoughts of my own because it’s important topic for me. Not only do I want my own team to be successful and happy both inside and outside of the office, but I want them to know that I take steps to do so, as well. It’s not always easy to, especially when you’re plugged into work on a constant basis, but it’s a good idea to try. Therefore, take a look at the 8 Things Successful People Do Outside of the Office below.

1. Take a vacation. 
If you have the ability to take a vacation, take advantage of it! By utilizing company time-off policy, many professionals are able to use vacation days to clear their heads, recharge and relax. Some of the most successful people, including Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Sheryl Sandberg swear by having fun with time off. Even planning a “stay-cation” can be beneficial for many professionals—use the time to improve your overall well-being.

2. Lace up your tennis shoes! 
Exercise is one of the best ways to relax. Not only is it the healthiest way to spend free time, but it can also be fun. No matter the type of exercise, many professionals say that carving out time to work out allows them to relieve stress, boost energy and have dedicated “me-time.” The article states that regular exercising, “is a trait of motivated, goal-oriented people, who naturally succeed in other areas of life.” Talk about motivation to hit the gym!

3. Make time to meditate. 
This is another great suggestion that will help you focus on your “me-time.” While it can be difficult to clear your mind, meditation is a surefire way to wind down and relax. Good meditation takes practice— a good place to start though is with apps like Headspace, or through self-guided meditations. Try setting aside 5 minutes to clear your head every day, and you’ll begin to see the benefits in no time.

4. Curl up with a good book.
It’s proven that reading has a number of proven-benefits, so it’s no wonder that many professionals like to unwind with a book, an online article or even a magazine. According to a recent article, “Just like going for a jog exercises your cardiovascular system, reading regularly improves memory function by giving your brain a good work out.” Not only that, but audiobooks allow you to listen anywhere—be it on the train ride home, in the car or really anywhere you’ll experience downtime.

5. Learn. 
The writer of this article states, ”Successful people know that no matter how much you think you know, there’s always something new to learn.” This couldn’t be truer—there are endless benefits to constantly learning. Even if you are a subject matter expert in a certain topic or field, it’s always helpful to continue learning in order to stay in the know as information changes so rapidly in today’s world.

6. Find a cause that speaks to you.
Even if it’s only for a few hours a month, volunteering is a great way to spend your downtime. Not only can it prove to be a networking opportunity with likeminded individuals, more importantly, it benefits the community and those in need. Lending a helping hand can be as simple as sorting cans at a food pantry or as involved as building houses with Habitat for Humanity or similar organizations—in other words, volunteering is what you make of it. Successful individuals should find a cause that speaks to them and check out upcoming volunteer opportunities that align with their schedule and interests.

7. Network. 
As daunting as networking events can sometimes be, many successful individuals know that they can open doors to a number of different opportunities. Not looking for a new job? That’s okay too! Networking, like volunteering, can introduce you to new people who might not have otherwise met and allow you to connect to peers in your field. Keep an eye out for networking events to stay social, too!

8. Spend time with loved ones. 
Making time to spend with loved ones, friends and family is arguably one of the most important tips on this list. Too often, many people neglect to spend enough time with their loved ones and let work take up the majority of their day. I understand that at times, it’s difficult to balance, but it’s essential to make time for family and friends. After all, they’re always going to be there for you, even when the work is done.

These are only a few of the many things successful people do with their free time. Have any other suggestions? Comment below and let us know.

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