Why Doing Nothing is the Key to Productivity
When was the last time you lay ‘belly up’ gazing skyward? Or the last time you didn’t have your phone on you for more than one hour? When was the last time you had a night in without flipping open your laptop or flicking on the TV?
Thing is – you’ve gotten so used to ‘doing’ that you’ve forgotten about the ‘being’. And why?
Lean in. Listen up.
You’re afraid that all the nasty feelings and thoughts that surface from stillness will be too painful to deal with.
Like me – somewhere along the way you picked up the belief that doing nothing is lazy. And lazy is not loveable.
I, for one, am a master in the art of ‘busy’. I’m incredibly skilled at powering up my ‘to-do’ list all in the name of procrastinating pain or making myself worthy to others.
Pain comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s reliving confronting conversations and their implications that have been had earlier that day. Sometimes it’s facing a tough decision. Sometimes it’s a tax return or house work and, my personal favourite, processing pain from a relationship breakdown.
And how do you know if you’re avoiding pain? For me, it’s working long hours. For others it’s alcohol, food, social media or over training. Yep – procrastination comes in many forms disguised as ‘productivity’.
But one thing I know for sure, above anything else, is that we need to add more pauses to our every day and stop labelling them as ‘slacking off’ or being lazy.
And not just at the beginning and end. It’s throughout the day and it’s in the thick of the moment when you feel like you can’t pause for fear of not making a deadline or bursting at the seams with emotions. Those are the moments the pauses are most potent and powerful. On paper it seems counter productive but it’s one of the most effective ways to get shit done.
I dare you to just sit with the feelings, feel them and allow them to ‘pass through you’. Before you know it you’re back on track because you’re not being weighed down by emotion or frenetic energy – which is a doozy of a time waster.
My 3 step guide for doing sweet FA:
1. Stop what you’re doing.
2. Stand still, lie down or sit. Whatever feels most appropriate.
3. Take five deep belly breaths.
Boom – you’re back. Watch the profoundly potent effect this has on your state of mind and level of clarity. Simple act – big reward.
I double dare you to extend the practice twice a week into half hour blocks – often experienced as lying on the beach doing nothing (apply sunscreen please), meditating or simply people watching in the park.
p.s. come get a massive sip stillness and learn to listen deeply (to yourself) with me in Uluru in May.