I read this quote during the week and it really struck a chord with me. I’m the type of person who is always busy because I feel that doing nothing is a waste of time and unproductive. I always have a to-do list…and very rarely seem to get to the end of it. Part of the reason for this is because we are trained nowadays to see business as a necessary prerequisite for success. We hear ‘The harder you work the luckier you get’ or ‘Life rewards action’ so taking it easy almost seems like an excuse for just being lazy. Plus the fact that we are continuously connected to technology hasn’t helped – it’s almost impossible to switch off while surrounded by constant updates and alerts. But it’s also become so normal that we can’t even see how little time we get to just ‘be’. I’m gradually coming to this realisation, but I have to consciously make an effort to do nothing – and it still feels a little uncomfortable! Like anything though compulsive business is just a habit that is developed and habits can be broken – with a bit of effort.
So I like to use this quote as a reminder and I try to remember the benefits of doing nothing because it actually is a vital part in achieving success in its own way! Here’s some reasons why doing nothing will be good for you:
1. Doing ‘nothing’ makes you happier
If you are constantly doing, doing, doing then you never get time to really enjoy moments or really ‘be’ in the present. Taking time to just ‘be’ allows you to reflect on good things that happened and acknowledge the things that can just get filtered out otherwise. Vegging out is one of life’s little luxuries so see it as a well-deserved rest in an otherwise productive day/week. It’s in doing nothing that we also notice the little things that can contribute to overall happiness – we’ve got too good at tuning things out now and it’s going to be our loss
2. Doing nothing makes you more sociable
If you are constantly focused on doing, or feeling stressed about the next thing you need to do, then it can be hard to enjoy other peoples company. Or for them to enjoy yours. You will most likely be fidgety, maybe even tense and unable to fully concentrate on the conversation or situation. That’s ok now and again but doing it regularly will start to harm the quality of your relationships. On your deathbed the most important part of your life will have been the people in it, so don’t let other seemingly important parts take over this area.
3. Doing nothing makes you more productive
Studies show that your brain benefits from regular breaks and that taking time out actually makes you more productive. That’s because it can only concentrate for so long before performance starts to dip. So although you think being productive, you will probably achieve as much, if not more by taking some time to switch off in between. You wouldn’t expect your phone to run constantly without recharging it so give the same courtesy to your brain.
4. Doing nothing makes you healthier
Never making time to relax will start to impact on your health in a negative way so it’s as important as eating healthy or your exercise routine. Our brains are bombarded with information all day and now with social media this goes on until late night. Then we wonder why we can’t sleep, have constant headaches or suffer from muscle aches and pains. All of these things can be caused the tension, and the stress of being constantly on high alert. Stress also releases cortisol, a hormone that affects mood and causes us to store fat around our middle…so taking time out can help your appearance too
5. Doing nothing makes you more creative
Whether it’s a work project or problem solving within your own life, taking regular time out can make you more creative. They say the best ideas arrive when you are completely relaxed which is probably where the old advice of ‘sleeping’ on a problem came from. Forcing yourself to keep pushing through will overtax your brain and make it hard for you to see the wood for the trees. It’s actually counterproductive a lot of the time. Better to schedule in some rest time and go back to the task later. More often than not you’ll find some inspiration on your return!
So if you’re like me and find you’re a bit too focused on the ‘doing’ then make it your project this week to factor in more downtime. Notice how it impacts on your life and if see if by next time you feel more like a human being! Anything that helps us achieve that is worth doing