Spend Time Doing Nothing
“Too many people, too many demands,
too much to do; competent, busy, hurrying people
– it just isn’t living at all.”
Anne Spencer Morrow Lindbergh
I’m someone who loves doing things.
I used to feel I was wasting my day if I spent some of it ‘doing nothing’ – I mean, that seemed so lazy to me.
Plus, I barely had the time to handle everything I was already doing…how could I possibly add anything else to my day?
Since then, I’ve learned that taking time to ‘do nothing’ is actually one of the best things you can possibly do for yourself.
My coach once requested that I spend 45 minutes each day doing nothing. I immediately started looking for loopholes…I mean, how would I come up with that much extra time! I asked if walking could be considered ‘doing nothing’, or if I could count the time I spent doing yoga.
She started laughing, and said that I was not to even do any meditating while I was doing nothing! I was to sit still and just pay attention to what I was thinking, feeling, and experiencing.
I agreed, even though I didn’t see what possible benefit I’d get from this exercise in ‘doing nothing.’
For my first attempt, I went outside and sat by the pool (after dark, since it was really hot in Arizona and evening is the best time to be out by the pool when you’re not actually swimming in it). I started really enjoying myself – I looked at the stars and the palm trees overhead, I enjoyed the sound of the pool fountain, I watched people walk by, and let my thoughts drift in and out. I thought, “wow, I am really getting into the swing of things – this is great!”
Then I looked at my watch. Four whole minutes had gone by. My body started getting antsy. I wanted to move. I started feeling unproductive.
And yet I let myself feel experience all of it for 45 minutes.
As I continued to include ‘doing nothing’ into my day, I started feeling like I had all the time in the world. My body slowed down, and I found myself coming up with great ideas that were completely unexpected. I became much more relaxed, and able to pay attention to what my body and mind were telling me. I simply started feeling better.
Doing nothing has become one of my very favorite pastimes. I make sure to include some ‘doing nothing’ time into my life every day.
Be willing to give it a try. It might just change your life. It has certainly changed mine.
You could go all out like I did, and take 45 minutes a day to do nothing. Or take 10 minutes. It’s amazing how 10 minutes of serious ‘do nothing’ will change the pace of your day and your life!