It wasn’t long ago that doing nothing was something everyone did. At least once in a while.
Being busy non-stop is the new normal. The boundaries between our careers and our personal lives are difficult to identify. We live in a time where we are required to be ‘always on.’ Every aspect of our life is on display – home, work and play. Our life is constantly in the spotlight. Both social media and technology have advanced at breakneck speed. Facebook is a mere 15 years old. The first iPhone launched only 12 years ago, and Instagram isn’t even 10-years-old yet. And as young as the technology may be, the huge impact it has had on our lives makes it seem a lot longer. Doing nothing has become taboo.
For most of us today, doing nothing leaves us feeling guilty.
In an article in The Guardian, written by Elle Hunt, she explains how a 10,000-word transcript of a keynote talk by author and artist Jenny Odell entitled: How to do Nothing was published online and went viral. In it, she suggests that technology, coupled with economic insecurity, has blurred the boundaries between work, rest and leisure. Odell writes, “What we are left with are 24 potentially monetizable hours that we can no longer justify spending on ‘nothing’. It is simply too expensive.” Sad affirmation that we have lost a sense of the value of time and how it should best be spent.
Srinivas Rao from Unmistakable Creative writes in an article entitled The 3 Most Important Resources You Have (Money is not One of Them), that Time is the most valuable asset we have. The other two are Energy and Attention. Time is the only finite resource we all get an equal amount of every day. 24 hours is allocated to everyone, and as each hour passes, it’s gone forever. It’s a mistake to think that because time is a limited resource that you should fill every hour doing as much as possible. In fact, the opposite is true. There is ample scientific proof that slowing down and taking time to relax, being mindful and doing nothing, has health and other benefits.
Being in the moment, allowing yourself to be calm, restful and peaceful, is not time wasted, it is essential for our wellbeing. Try taking time to slow down and give yourself a chance to breathe. When you set aside time to do nothing, you will start to notice your thinking becomes clearer. You will also find more creative solutions to problems. Taking a break rejuvenates your thinking and gives you the extra boost you need to complete tasks.
Don’t wait to live the life you deserve. Being present and in-the-moment forces you to look at your current situation as it stands today, and make the most of it. Realising that today is all you have helps put ‘now’ into perceptive over ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’. Taking special notice of events and situations around you, even small and insignificant ones, like shaving in the morning, or sipping a nice cup of coffee, or spending time in a garden, helps lift your spirits as you savour the moment.
Srinivas Rao is right; money is not an important resource. If you had to be completely honest with yourself, you have more than enough of it right now. You are wealthier than most because you didn’t go to bed hungry last night, and you slept in a warm bed in a safe house. Approaching life with a grateful heart, regardless of the hand you have been dealt, prevents you from being selfish or self-centred.
The cemetery where my Mom and Dad are buried is not far from my house. The setting is tranquil with large sycamore trees towering over the rows of gravestones and runs parallel to a golf course. The gardens are immaculately kept with rose trees lining the entrance, and lush green lawns neatly outlining the gravesites. Park benches are dotted around the large property. Some folks have added their own small benches close to their beloved’s gravesite. There is no shortage of shady spots where you can sit and be peaceful. I visit often.
Work hard at being in the moment. Take time to do nothing, allowing yourself to be mindful and quiet for a while. The benefits will astound you.
Have an awesome weekend! 😄