Living Intentionally Personal Growth

What happened during my unstructured time at Barnes and Noble

February 24, 2014


Not too long ago, I was at Barnes and Noble and had about 45 minutes to spare. Rather than pulling out my laptop to get some work done or checking my emails on my phone, I decided to take it easy and have some unstructured down time.

This wasn’t typical because most days my work schedule is jammed packed full of appointments and tasks. I’ll go from one thing right to the next.

If I have a few minutes, I’ll try to get something checked off my to-do list like making a phone call or responding to an email.

Not this day.

For about 45 minutes, I did nothing productive. And it was amazing!

I could feel my whole body relax. My thoughts slowed down. My breathing deepened. And that nagging headache I had vanished.

It reminded me very much of my college days where I had often had unstructured, more relaxed down time between classes.

Nowadays, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as it did back in college. It’s quite different when you have a family and are running a business.

But as I felt my body relax and my thoughts slow down, it became very clear that this sort of breathing room was very beneficial, if not necessary to really function at one’s best.

It’s in times like these where we’ll get that breakthrough idea, gain invaluable perspective, and, if nothing else, get rejuvenated to dive back into our work.

So my conclusion was that we can’t pack our days full of activity, even our workdays. We need to allow time for unstructured down time, time to slow down and relax.

I love this quote by Andy Stanley.

“In your effort to get the most out of life, don’t lose control of your life.”

What about you? Do you ever pull back and take the time for unstructured down time?

Try it. It might give you the breakthrough you’ve been looking for!

Photo Credit: Garrett Gill via Compfight cc

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Ann Musico February 24, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Very wise advice Michael! In my coaching I address 4 areas and one is called rest and reboot. I refer to this unstructured downtime as rebooting and we all need it every day!

    • Reply Michael Good February 24, 2014 at 9:19 am

      That sounds great, Ann! Whenever I take the time for this I feel so energized.

  • Reply Michael Wright March 1, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    The weekly Sabbath rest commandment is greatly overlooked! God put it there for a reason as you noted it’s benefits. I know that I can be busy doing things that it all is about the doing of it and many times don’t feel like I really got that much done after all. Here’s to more trips to Barnes and Nobles for you, Michael! Amazing what 45 minutes of R&R can do.

    • Reply Michael Good March 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      Well said, Michael. Here’s to a little R&R for you too!

  • Reply Sarah Gingrich March 31, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    I have this every day and cannot live well without it. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m from Montana or because I’m a backwards missionary, but I fail to understand how people live such zippy lives all the time, stuffing their schedules so full it’s like ladies at a fill-a-bag for $5 clothing sale.

    • Reply Michael Good April 2, 2014 at 8:12 am

      Love the analogy, Sarah! I think it’s generally an American thing and especially an east coast/west coast thing.

    Leave a Reply