This is for the do-ers, myself included.
It seems like we are always doing something, even when we aren’t doing anything. Doing nothing means different things to each of us, but it usually boils down to not getting anything meaningful accomplished.
Taking a closer look at doing nothing usually reveals lots of activity.
When you do nothing are you …
- picking up around the house?
- watching tv?
- talking on the phone?
- spinning your wheels?
- lurking on Facebook?
I ask, because even now that I’ve built a life that has space for doing nothing, I have a real struggle in not doing. I don’t schedule my days full of meetings or obligations, but I do spend time engaged in my morning routine doing things like: writing, meditating, exercising, and enjoying a smoothie.
Then, I work for a few hours on writing projects or helping clients with their projects. I take a long break over lunch so I have time to eat lunch, take Guinness for a walk, and then take a longer walk myself. Lovely, but still doing.
Next, it’s another work block and then my evenings are usually doing something with my husband. Not everyday is like that, but most.
I remember when I used to work full-time with crazy deadlines and stress, saying yes to everything, thinking that I would kill to have time to do nothing. Now that I have the time, I resist nothingness. Maybe you resist too?
Why we resist doing nothing:
- Do-ers like getting things done. We get a high from ticking things off the list.
- There is always more to do; things we want to do, and things that need to be done.
- We are afraid that if we do nothing, people will think we are lazy or incapable.
- We are afraid that if we do nothing, we will become lazy or incapable.
While I love the freedom of my days and feel blessed to have the time and energy to do the things I really want to do, I have been pulled to do nothing lately.
I believe there are real benefits, but I haven’t spent enough time not doing to know for sure. There is only one way to find out what not doing has to offer.
Join me for a little challenge in not doing.
For the next 7 days, schedule 10 minutes to an hour for not doing. Also, while you are not doing …
- No notebook nearby for all of the ideas that come up
- No napping or formal meditating
- No distractions or devices
- No background music
- No apps for that
When the excuses rush in, (“I don’t have time for that.” “Her schedule is more flexible.” “This is crazy.” or “I have better things to do than do nothing.”) recognize your resistance. If you really can’t find time to do nothing, make cuts.
I’m going to start with 15-30 minutes a day and reassess after 7 days. If I enjoy the time, and observe that it contributes to health, love, or creativity, I’ll go for longer stretches.
I’m starting to think that all the doing, even the really meaningful doing dilutes our energy, commitment and purpose. The doing is compromising the reason we do.
Are you in?