We live in a hyperactive world in which active lifestyles and overachievers are celebrated. In fact, we try to squeeze as much as we can into the day — with no time to spare. When we’re not busy multitasking, we’re racing from activity to activity. Right? So when was the last time you did nothing, simply because you thought doing nothing was time well spent?
The truth is, we’re so busy keeping busy that it’s easy to reach a point of diminishing returns –– we lose more than we gain. You’d think we’d learn something from watching a hamster run around on a treadmill. What do we lose by constantly being on the run?
Make Something Out of Nothing
Stop for a second. Take a deep breath. Are we busy to a fault?
Dream. Ever wonder why you get great ideas driving, in the shower, or running on the treadmill? Research shows that you’re more likely to have an “aha!” moment when you’re relaxed and allowing ideas to percolate in the back of your brain. So, to all the folks who eat lunch at their desk . . . it’s time to take a break.
Reflect. Sometimes we’re so busy doing stuff that we fail to consider whether it makes sense. Are we addressing what’s important or what’s next on our to-do list? Is there a better way to accomplish our goals? Stepping away from a situation often provides valuable perspective. Take the time to reflect.
Observe. Sometimes the best answer is right under our nose, but we’re too busy to see it. If most answers seem obvious in retrospect, maybe we’re not spending enough time searching for the obvious.
Bond. Clear your calendar. Spend a quiet evening with your spouse. Have dinner as a family rather than grabbing meals on the fly. Listen to your children today and be part of what they’re doing tomorrow.
Relax. We work the whole year just to take a few days off. Then we spend vacations enjoying the simple life –– relaxing on a beach, hiking through the woods, or watching a beautiful sunset. Why wait? Perhaps the only thing stopping you from relaxing is you. Instead of adding activities to your busy schedule, try eliminating some and then . . . relax.
Embrace life. When you spend your time counting every minute, you’re bound to miss precious moments. Keep in mind that it’s the moments, not the days, that you’ll remember one day.
Show gratitude. Are you too busy to show the people in your life that you care? It doesn’t take much effort and you’ll certainly make their day.
Think. Some managers look at an employee staring out the window and think she’s goofing off; others look at the same person and think, “Good she’s in deep thought.” Think about that.
Learn. Kick off your shoes and learn something new. Explore new territory. Shift your focus. Open your mind. Leave familiar turf. Break out of the rut. See the big picture. Connect the dots. Change your outlook.
Recharge. Are you busy to a fault? Take some time to rejuvenate. Quiet your mind. Unplug. Meditate. Nap. Learn how to take a five-minute vacation.
Wander. Forget your aspirations for a moment. Take a walk to clear your head. Stroll without a purpose. Get lost within yourself. Who knows what you’ll find.
Nothing Is Something Worth Doing.
While some believe that keeping a frantic pace helps us accomplish more each day, the jury is still out. The only sure thing we may gain from our hectic lifestyle is stress and anxiety. Maybe it’s time for this hamster to get off the treadmill. The truth is, we’re so busy keeping busy that we fail to see the error of our ways. In fact, as Sydney J. Harris, the journalist, said, “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
Life is not a race to the finish line. What matters is not how much you do but rather, the quality of the things that you do. As Lao Tzu said, “Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”
Start doing more by doing less. Cast aside the guilt and reintroduce yourself to the world around you. Savor life’s simple moments. Taste your food rather than gorging it. Listen between the lines rather than hearing words. Reignite relationships rather than passing like visitors in the night. Make a moment rather than counting the minutes. You just might get the BIG idea when you expect it least. And you’ll feel more relaxed, less distracted, and blissfully rejuvenated to greet another day. Sometimes you accomplish more by doing less. You DO get something for nothing!