It’s a Sunday…one of those early afternoon, hot and windy September days.
I decided not only is it too hot, but the wind makes working outside, fertilizing the lawn, and doing Fall prep work a bad idea, unless I want the fertilizing granules flying back up at me instead of onto the grass. I’m not a fan of fertilizer flying up into my face, nose and eyes. Although it can perk up a yard, I’m fairly certain it does not do the same for humans!
So, I told myself, “you say you want to write more, why don’t you start writing more by writing right now?”
That would mean I’d have to sit down and write…
This is where the struggle comes in.
It’s not that I don’t know what to write about – I’ve got topics galore. It’s that I get this nagging feeling that taking the time to sit and write takes away from doing all of those other “productive” things that need to get done for my business or around the house.
Uh oh. That’s it! I self-diagnosed myself as having “getting-it-all-done, so-much-more-to-do-itis”: that mental state where you can’t just do nothing because there’s so much to do, and if you do nothing (even though sitting down and writing is definitely NOT nothing), sitting feels unproductive.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one with this.
In fact, I just read that so many people are burned out, overwhelmed, and stressed because of exactly this – all they feel they have to get done. We have modern conveniences that make our lives easier, computers that allow us to work from everywhere and yet, we are more pressed for time than ever before.
I have gotten way better at this even though it still comes up. I’ve learned that doing nothing can be every bit as productive, perhaps even more so, than just keeping busy at working to check things off that on-going, ever-expanding list.
When my kids were little and still living at home, and I was building my business as a single mother, I felt like I was wasting time if I wasn’t doing something on that never-ending list. I can now hear a phrase in the back of my mind, both from my mom, and this inspirational group I listen to, telling me you’ll never get it done, and there will always be something more to do, so just let it go. I’m guessing this is where the phrase “stop and smell the roses” came from.
We often find ourselves regurgitating and living from our past or getting overwhelmed and over-focused on the future.
Both perspectives take us away from being in the present NOW moment. Unless you are reliving something that makes you happy from your past, or excited about a future event (both of which have positive value), getting too caught up in the stress of either the past or future, takes us away from the only moment we really ever have – the present moment. This is also where our power comes from.
Studies show that our brains need downtime to do nothing, meaning “no thing” right now. In other words, not a thing needs to be done right now. This downtime has been shown to stimulate creativity and imagination. It allows for daydreaming which helps us create a vision towards a future, and it reduces stress.
Our brains need space for this all to occur.
If it’s caught up in “doing” all the time, it never gets that open space by just “being.” Meditation comes to mind, but even meditation can be hard for people because they are still trying to “do” something. Instead of letting go of thought, sitting still and just being present in the moment, they try to force “no thought,” which is still trying to do something.
If you’re anything like me, maybe we all need to remind ourselves that doing nothing is sometimes exactly what we need to re-group and re-charge. In that way, we become productive!
So ironically, we are still doing something.
For me, this time was the act of writing. It could easily have been looking at a magazine, reading a book or having a conversation with a loved one. What does rest and relaxation and being present in the moment look like for you?
Let yourself off the hook, chill out and relax and give yourself permission to do nothing – because that is something! And it’s something really good!
Active-ist for your health,