Downtime vs. Meantime

How would you describe your free time? What do you do when you have nothing scheduled?

I’ve been faced with the following questions more times than I can count over the last two years: What do you do with yourself since you’re not working? You have a lot of downtime, huh?

At first I was somewhat appalled because it seemed that those asking the questions assumed that I slept until noon every day and watched talk shows while eating bowls of ice cream all afternoon. That is so not true. The fact that I didn’t have to get up and go to a job every morning like most people, didn’t necessarily mean that I was wasting away doing nothing either. No my brain was not turning to mush. I didn’t consider my layoff as downtime.

The definition of downtime is inactive time as in between periods of work.

Are you making the most of your time?

I definitely was not inactive in any way. In fact, I was taking advantage of the opportunity to invest in something that I loved doing while I had the time to do it. Writing is very time consuming and since I didn’t have a job, per se, to go to every morning, I made it my job to pour my all into my writing projects.

  • I wrote business articles.
  • I wrote human resource articles.
  • I wrote a book.
  • I wrote a short story.
  • I wrote lots of blog posts.
  • I wrote four stage plays.

That’s what I’ve been doing for the last two years in the meantime—not downtime.

The definition of meantime is intervening time.

In the meantime, I’ve done things I enjoy doing and my human resource career can benefit from this meantime experience I’ve had once a door is opened.

What do you do in your meantime situation? Are you making the most of the meantime or are you truly in a downtime period? Downtime is inactive. I can’t be inactive. During inactivity, no creativity happens. No new things are learned. No books are read. There’s nothing to show for the time lost.

It’s like the lemons to lemonade analogy—when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Life gave me a layoff, in the meantime I’ll write until another door is opened.

Be blessed,


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21 Responses to Downtime vs. Meantime

  1. Jami Greene says:

    Love Love Love this. So insightful and encouraging!

  2. April says:

    You’ve done a lot! Keep up the good work!

  3. Cherlisa says:

    Great post. I love the description of meantime vs. downtime. It is funny how people think you’re hanging out eating bon bons when you’re not going out to a job in corporate America job. Self-employment can be hard work. Thanks for setting the record straight.

  4. I really liked this article. You have been so very busy. I really liked your idea that you spent your time in action. It was not downtime, because you were not down, you were dointhings while you were laid off. It was meantime, because what you were doing was meaningful. A great article and a great idea. Thank you for sharing.

  5. MELISASource says:

    Love your breakdown of the differences between downtime and meantime! A lot of people have them mixed up! 🙂 I know myself how it can be easy to do, too. Thanks for sharing!

  6. DjRelAt7 says:

    This is awesome! Sometimes I think a layoff can put a person in a funk. I have witnessed it many a time. Good for you for taking your in the meantime as a way to be productive and chase after your passion that you may not have been able to do otherwise.

  7. Kimyatta says:

    Very inspiring…:) Thanks for sharing. It gave me something to think about.

  8. I never thought about downtown vs. meantime. I like your definitely and it’s given me something to think about.

  9. Jordan says:

    YESS! all of that! During my downtime I started writing a grant and started thinking of ways to expand my business and where I could use my talents. Yes once in a while I need complete downtime, but if I start doing nothing..I get depressed, thinking about everything that’s happening/not happening and that stunts my growth! So I totaalllly agree make the most of your “meantime”!!

    • Daphine says:

      I agree. You do need some downtime but for people to assume that free time is downtime and therefore unproductive time is just plain wrong.

      Thanks for your post and consider subscribing in the upper right corner. Be blessed.


  10. Chasing Joy says:

    Great distinction. It sounds like you accomplished much much more than many people who have been consistently employeed the last 2 year.

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