Permission to Putter
The idea of doing nothing can be daunting. Because we are so obsessed with getting things done and often measure the success of our day by what we cross off a to-do list, being unproductive is a tall order.
With that in mind, you still need a break from the doing, from the achieving and accomplishing. If you won’t do nothing, give yourself permission to putter.
My dog Guinness has perfected puttering. He sniffs things, chases things he knows he’ll never catch, walks around the house aimlessly and will drop everything for a belly rub. On a hike last night, after stopping for a drink of water, he sat right down in the little pool of water where he quenched his thirst. He may have been cooling off, but I think he just wanted to plop into the cool pool, abandon our uphill trek and daydream.
Puttering sometimes has a negative connotation. The dictionary defines putter as: to spend or fill in a random, inconsequential, or unproductive way; fritter away; waste. Some think puttering means you aren’t focused or driven and that if puttering, you probably run late and are absent-minded.
I’d like to suggest that to putter, dawdle or doodle isn’t wasteful, but necessary. It’s a break from the busy and a calming force in a sometimes overwhelming day.
Permission (and how to) Putter
- Flip through a magazine without really reading anything
- Walk around your neighborhood (not for exercise)
- Make lists
- Browse recipes
- Join Pinterest (always turns into puttering)
There comes a point when busyness not only becomes destructive, but counter productive. Good work doesn’t come from someone who is overworked. The sleep deprived have trouble making good decisions, and when a high stress lifestyle becomes the cause of illness and death, nothing gets done at all.
You are so busy with your ing words; working, cleaning, cooking, ironing, shopping, carpooling, and don’t forget worrying, comparing, competing and perfecting.
You can stop now.
If you were too busy to read this post in entirety, just please read that line above again. You can stop now. If you go to work in wrinkles, it will be ok. If you don’t get to the store, you can go tomorrow. If dinner is fruit and crackers, that’s ok.
If you stop, and nothing else gets done today, everything will be ok, mostly better.
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