Julie Haslam, DTA founder.
Talk us through a typical day.
I wake up every morning to my alarm and hit snooze at least 7 times (even though I know this is the worst thing you can do). I then jump on instagram to see how many likes I’ve received overnight (probably worse than hitting the snooze button).
Once my feet have hit the ground, I race to the bathroom, because I’ve been holding on for about two hours too long) and on the way there get scratched all over my legs by my dog Raf – because that’s how he says Good Morning.
The first hour of my day is spent planning because without a plan, my ADHD absolutely gets the better of me. I plan out my day in blocks with dedicated periods for checking emails, completing tasks and having downtime.
From here, every day is completely different.
Why did you start The Downtime Agenda?
A couple of years ago, I became very unwell and was diagnosed with a thyroid condition called Graves Disease. After surgery to remove my thyroid, I was advised to take two months off work – eek. During this time, I did a heap of research and developed an understanding of the importance of self-care – not only for my health but for my productivity and overall happiness.
Following this, I witnessed several colleagues and friends becoming burnt out and their consequential need to take significant time off work. The daily grind and our obsession with slogging away goals, does not make sense to me. It’s not sustainable or an enjoyable way to live our lives. Nor is it good for business.
I started The Downtime Agenda to remind people that in our over-worked, over-connected world, taking time out for ourselves is not an indulgence, but a necessity.
Where are you when having downtime?
I am usually on my own or with my little family (Nick and Raf) – walking, watching TV, baking or pottering around the house and garden. Home is where it’s at for me.
Are there consequences for you in not getting enough downtime?
If I’m not getting enough downtime, it usually means I have taken on too much. You’ll find me running around, snacking on sugar, forgetting things and making mistakes, which usually costs me even more time, leading to even further stress. Stress then means I’m snappy at friends, family, clients – it’s awful!
How do you effectively manage a busy day and reduce stress?
I schedule downtime in my calendar just as I do meetings. In this time I will go for a walk, do a pilates class or meditate.
I have adopted strategies for being more productive like staying focussed on one task at a time. I have a tendency to get sidetracked working across several different things at once. I use an app called Wunderlist that helps me to schedule tasks, prioritise them and stay on track.
Emails can easily take over your life so I think it’s important to have set times for checking and responding to them – otherwise you can get to the end of the day and feel as though you’ve achieved nothing.
Where is your best vacation spot for Downtime?
I have two:
– Wolgan Valley, The Blue Mountains.
– La Bandita, Tuscany.
What are you reading right now?
How to Be Bored by Eva Hoffman for The School Of Life
Tell us 5 songs on your downtime playlist.
Grace — Jeff Buckley
Do you remember — Jarred James
Talk is Cheap — Chet faker
Lay it Down — The Rubens
Warm Love — Van Morrison
What’s your favourite movie of all time?
Crazy Stupid Love.
Tell us about your ideal Sunday in five words.
Brunch. Nick. Raf. Garden. Sofa.
Who is your downtime partner in crime?
I love being around people but I definitely need to be by myself to re-charge properly. And for this reason, my dog Raf is my perfect little downtime sidekick.