What To Do When You Are Doing Nothing

“If you don’t get busy, I’ll give you something to do!”

Did you ever hear that – or something like it – when you were younger? You probably still hear your inner voice say the same thing every time you take time for yourself, to relax, or just “do nothing.”

Most of us are very uncomfortable when we do nothing, or even just the thought of doing nothing. We feel guilty, unproductive, lazy, anxious, or just plain wrong. We learned those early messages very well, and even when our minds tell us it is okay to not do anything, there is a part of us that tells us to get busy.

As much as we’ve been convinced that not doing anything is wrong on many levels, I believe that it has a valuable place in our lives, maybe on a daily basis. One of the messages of my presentations is that doing nothing is not only permissible, but is often the easiest, quickest, and most effective solution to a problem. It is also a time when inspiration can happen, and a time when the body/mind/soul can take the time to heal.

The Art of Not Doing Anything.

That being said, doing nothing is not nearly as easy as it sounds. When you think to yourself, “Now I am not doing anything,” you are thinking, which is doing something. The experience of doing nothing is like watching the sunset. You keep looking at the sun, and then you know that it has gone below the horizon, but it is nearly impossible to capture the exact moment it disappeared. So we sit and think about doing nothing, but we usually miss the moment when it happens. We realize later that some time has passed when we must have been “daydreaming,” or we wake up from a nap and feel guilty about sleeping when we should have been doing “nothing.”