A New Rule for Productivity – The Art of Doing Nothing

This week I heard from three different women that sometimes “it’s just all too much” – (the societal lifestyle expectations that we are trying to live up to), and they are “struggling”.  We live in a world where everything is go faster, do more, and keep on keeping on.

What’s going wrong?

We are bombarded with information that suggests our lives are not perfect unless we are ….. (xyz) …. .  Then, as we strive to meet up to that perfect life, we become exhausted and run down, emotionally drained, irritable and ratty, only to find out we haven’t achieved what we were trying AND that the goal posts have now moved.  And so, our minds fill with thoughts that “we are struggling to keep up with it all”.

How many of us ladies take time to ourselves for self-care during our busy weeks?  Or do we all just keep ploughing along until everything is done but we’re exhausted?

A Shift for the Better

Let’s stop for a moment.  No!  Literally stop!

Stop multitasking and reading this on your commute or whilst you’re in line at the grocery store.  Actually stop.

Take a breath, a deep breath, and just take in your surroundings.  Be present.  Go on, have a look around you.

Take another deep breath.  Think of the last thing that made you laugh or smile, and re-live the feeling it gave you, again.  No cheating now; actually do this.

In just that moment, those couple of seconds, taking time to breathe, you will have recharged your life-battery just a little bit.  And that was just a couple of seconds.

Imagine how much you could recharge if you took 20 minutes, or half an hour in the middle of your day, to just stop and take stock of things.  Took just a moment to refocus, re-centre, to breathe and to restore your energy.

A New Rule for Productivity

Doing nothing, just like restorative sleep, gives our brains time to forge new neuro-connections which help us consolidate information, enabling us to act efficiently and therefore be more productive.

Pre-children, I used to run a coaching practice.  One of the best exercises for helping my clients in the achievement of their goals was to make sure that they scheduled time in their diaries for doing absolutely NOTHING! They actually booked it out like an appointment or meeting – it’s that important.

Their period of “doing nothing” was actually doing a lot.  It was giving them a chance to recharge so they could go at it again with renewed vigour.  I’d liken it to scheduled maintenance that we give our machines so that they don’t break down.  Given a little TLC, those machines just keep on running.

The Art of Doing Nothing

So what is “doing nothing”?

It’s a bit of an art form, and will be different for everyone.

For me personally, a walk in woodland is great – just to look and to breathe.  Or sitting with a cup of tea, preferably with a slice of cake and watching the world go by, just being present in that moment.

A lot of people find meditation is great – relaxing, letting your mind do nothing, not thinking, not processing.

Or turn your music up really loud and belt out your favourite song in true karaoke fashion.

Perhaps just sit comfortably, close your eyes, and focus on your breath flowing in and out.

It’s that ‘something’ when the fast-paced world just stops, and you can empty your head of projects and deadlines.  What ever works for you to stop the information coming in, to allow your brain and mind to rest, and allow your soul and your life-battery to recharge.

Find out what works for you, and make time for it in your day, your week and your month.

Something From Nothing

When we are firing on all four cylinders, we get things done.  When we are worn out, exhausted and fatigued everything becomes hard work and slow to complete.

If we just take the time to do nothing, to re-charge, we will feel renewed energy to see us through the day and our schedule.

From those moments of quiet will also come clarity and vision; a clearer idea of how to get our “stuff” done, and even some thoughts about what we actually “choose” to do.  Not all “busy-work” get us closer to our goals.


So, take me up on a challenge:  Everyday this week, build in 10-20 minutes of doing nothing. (If you can’t see how to do that, try 3 minutes in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evening.  Just 3 minutes!)             I’d love to hear how you get on.