The art of doing nothing in a task-driven society
Have you ever found yourself so busy at any point in time that you find it difficult to even stop to catch a breath? Today, we are all focused on productivity and keeping ourselves busy. In the fast-paced, modernized world, where geographical boundaries have almost been nullified, we are constantly in touch with different accomplishments taking place around us. Somewhere, we have begun to measure our self-worth as directly proportional to how productive we are. On one hand, that can help keep us motivated; but on the other hand, we also need to know when to stop, before we completely burn out!
Is productivity really that important?
Of course, it is important to be productive by finding what you truly enjoy and what keeps you going. Being productive is great for our self-esteem, so as to achieve a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Productivity is often equated with materialistic short-term or long-term goals when we should be focusing on a lot more than just materialism. We are currently in such a state of frenzy that the minute you feel like you are not being productive enough, you begin to develop a fear of what will happen next and then you get paranoid and it quickly turns into a downward spiral. Today, we have forgotten to focus on taking care of our health, maintaining relationships, and even just staying peaceful within ourselves. We toil and toil, trying to reach the level of financial security we dream of, without focusing on anything else adequately, eventually causing us to burn out.
Productivity is certainly important, but it is impossible to remain productive in the long run if you do not focus on taking some time to focus on other important aspects of your life. If you are wondering how to go about this, the answer is simple – do nothing.
Yes, you got that right – doing nothing can actually help you in enhancing your productivity, in fear and phobia management, and can help you maintain a strong focus on a balanced lifestyle, rather than just on short-term achievements.
How will doing nothing or doing less help?
Kate Northrup, author of the book Do Less, A revolutionary approach to time and energy management, helps readers get out of what she calls the “ I’m So Busy Train’. “ Doing more is not the holy grail of success that our culture has indoctrinated in us to believe, she says.” We often operate from the belief that the more we do the more we are valued and so we get our validation and self-through how much we do!
If we take a step back and choose to spend our time wisely, and with intention, we can be more productive and proactive than if we were burning ourselves out working longer hours!
It does sound quite paradoxical to think that when you take some time to do absolutely nothing, you can actually get better results from when you carry out activities towards achieving different life goals. Often people feel like they are too busy to spend time doing nothing, but instead spend hours of their free time online or watching TV or playing video games. These activities, with their guilt-laden appeal, do feel good but do not actually qualify as doing nothing, simply because your brain is still engaging in acquiring and assimilating a whole load of information.
Doing nothing is art too! Disconnecting from everything and tuning in with your own thoughts is an important art that can help you attain a balance between different states of your mind, causing you to be more peaceful and eventually more productive. There are many different things you could do by yourself that would count as doing ‘nothing’ – such as, a nice long shower, perhaps a bubble bath; sitting in a garden by yourself; meditating in your balcony, and so on. When you engage in activities like this, you enter an almost dreamy state, allowing your mind to wander, and allowing your physical, mental and emotional states to tune in with each other and understand each other. This can help you feel at peace with all your senses, enabling your mind to think clearly and with more positivity.
Mindfulness is a proven technique to help slow down our brain waves and leave us feeling calm and refreshed in the short-term, and to enhance creativity in the long run. Using meditation and other techniques to help bring your consciousness and awareness to the present moment, mindfulness is a psychological process that can help you focus on the present, purposefully and without judgment. Have you ever hit upon a brainwave in a moment of absolute calmness? It has long been known that most brilliant ideas come when you draw your attention to the present moment when you are feeling calm and composed.
Another important catalyst of bringing about peace and change in ourselves is the concept of connecting with your senses and establishing a relationship with nature. The reduction of our own mental chatter and forming a deep establishment with nature has scientifically been proven to help inspire us and lead us to our greater purposes; thus attaining the level of success we want to be at. A Japanese medicinal therapy, known as shinrin-yoku, is a form of therapy that encourages ‘forest bathing’ by immersing oneself in the forest atmosphere to connect with nature and all our senses, aimed at restoring and rejuvenating balance in our states of being. Different scientific tests and research studies have found a link between forest bathing and its restorative qualities, leading to approximately 2.6 million people around the world engaging in Shinrin-Yoku.
Clearing your consciousness by doing nothing can help your imagination run wild, giving birth to new ideas, thoughts, and patterns of thinking – directly impacting your actions. Ambition and the need to achieve every single goal, if at one point were causing stress and a near burn-out, will start to become positive reinforcers, as they should be.
How do I do nothing?
At Illuminations Well-Being Centre, we understand that it is difficult to do nothing, especially when you are constantly on the move. If you are having trouble finding a way to do nothing, you can enroll yourself for workshops or classes that teach you yoga, meditation or other important mindfulness techniques.