Do Nothing to Do More
I’ve had a horribly unproductive day. I did a few things I had to do this morning. I had grand aspirations to do a whole lot of other things today too. I’m doing a bit of freelance work this week. I’m planning my projects for 2010, coming up with three words, setting goals. I’m getting caught up on my reading. I’m prepping for a new semester of school. I’ve got no shortage of things to do.
Instead, I had a nap, played Rockband, practiced my guitar for 2 hours, and watched some stupid shows on TV. I felt terrible about it, but I simply couldn’t move my brain or my body in any other direction today.
I was riddled with guilty feelings over the lack of achievement. I usually feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment at the end of every day, as I check things off my list and feel the satisfaction of forward movement. I am extremely uncomfortable when I’m unproductive.
Then I stopped and thought – what if this day was meant to be exactly as it was? What if for once, I wasn’t forcing myself to be doing, doing, and doing some more? What if this was really just my body and mind’s way of telling me to slow down for a few hours? What if I told myself it’s ok to do this? Then I stopped worrying about what I wasn’t doing.
It’s funny – just because I decided to do what I did today (stop doing), the world did not end. People did not give up on me. I didn’t fail. I didn’t miss the boat.
It dawned on me that this time of doing “nothing” had not really been unproductive. In fact, it’s possible that I’ve been very productive. I rested (the nap), I did mindless things (video games and dumb TV), and I challenged myself creatively and technically (as evidenced by my extremely sore left hand due to learning some new guitar techniques).
My perceived lack of “doing” today actually did a lot. It forced me to use my mind in a different way. It forced me to unwind these thoughts that have been swirling around the past several days and figure out how they really fit. And now on the other end of it, I’m feeling really, really clear.
It’s the end of the year. Things are moving pretty slowly right now, and perhaps we should look at the pace of the next few days as an opportunity to truly reflect, refresh and recharge.
We are all moving so fast towards a finish line we can’t see yet. It’s all fine and well to plan and prepare and set goals and come up with words and define things for 2010. But we don’t have to always be moving. We’re allowed to stop once in a while. We’re allowed to slack off a bit. In fact, we should probably all do it a bit more often.
So, as you close out another year, maybe try to find some time (a few hours, or a few days) to just do nothing. You’ll probably find that it will do whole lot. It did for me.