Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Sit-and-Do-Nothing Rule

This post is inspired by a comment left on my last blog post about how to truly savor downtime and not feel guilty about it:

"Thanks for this! I found it from Tara Gentile's tweet, and I like it. My question is, how do you feel about your downtime? I've had an issue lately where everytime I have a little downtime, I end up feeling guilty for not doing something productive during that time--and yet, I'm still always yearning for that time to myself! It's such a destructive process. It would help if I had accomplished all the to do's before I have my downtime by scheduling all tasks like you suggested."

It is so. very. hard.

And, at times, I still suffer from that guilty vibe as well.

But, mostly, I have been able to really sit-and-do-nothing for a few minutes a day -- which hoenstly, in my world, is usually writing a list, doodling, writing, reading an inspiring book or meditating.


I see you twiddling your thumbs right now. I see the sweat from anxiety forming on your upper lip. I see your leg starting to twitch.

I learned the sit-and-do-nothing technique with little kids. The well-intended advice is always "nap when they nap" ... but I always felt there was too much to do, or at worst, I couldn't actually sleep.

So I implemented -- on the rare occassion -- the sit-and-do-nothing task. Close your eyes. Think about nothing but the sounds in the room. Breathe. Let your mind wander. Wander some more. Wonder.

This is a tool I use more frequently now when I am overwhelmed with too much to do or too many things I want to do.

Let's say I have a half hour and I have an hour's worth of work to do -- in other words, a typical half hour of my life. In fact, I often feel like a squirrel in the middle of the road -- you know when they can't decide what side of the road to run to -- the one they were aiming for or the one they just left? So, I instituted the sit-and do-nothing rule. Sit and do nothing not even watch TV, not even surf the Internets, not even talk to a person. Sit and do nothing and, like magic fairy dust falling on your shoulders, the answer: it always comes.

Usually, the answer is to make dinner and never even get to the rest of the list ... but I digress.

Sit and do nothing. That's it. It really is that simple.

Man, the best ideas come to me in those moments.

And I'm a much more relaxed crazy person after a sit-and-do-nothing. Still crazy. Still nutso. Still trying to do more than I can do in a single bound. But a little tiny bit saner.

Peace to you and your sit-and-do-nothing state.

1 comment:

  1. Why is the sit-and-do-nothing state so hard? It feels so good, once you're into it, but at the beginning, it's all squirrel mind and body. LOL. Thank you for this...xo