Two seemingly conflicting ideas have stuck with me since I was a teenager:
- Always ask yourself, “What’s the most productive thing I can be doing.”
- Sometimes, nothing can be a real cool hand
After years of teeter-tottering back and forth between full and always-on work and alternatively, periods of prolonged shut down, I’ve found that blending the two can be both productive and profitable.
5 Times doing nothing is productive
First thing in the morning
This may be the best time to take a few minutes and do nothing. Maybe a stretch or rotation of your joints like ankles or shoulders. Have a glass of water. Be grateful for another day. Visualize your success today. Shake off yesterday (for me, that’s shaking my wrists out). Ready?
If you wake up before dawn, you deserve a second breakfast. Mid-morning is a great time to do nothing for a few minutes. Don’t multi-task, just a snack and a cup. Breathe in. Exhale. Visualize the rest of the day. Let’s go.
Afternoon nap or walk
I love both of these, though never at the same time, I promise. If I’m in a place to take a 15-20 minute walk, I do so. If not, I take a short power nap. My phone stays in my pocket or on my desk. Again, no multi-tasking here – just relax. Refreshed? Finish strong.
Try doing a daily review, tracking success and areas of improvement. Although this is more than nothing, it’s something that isn’t heavy lifting and it can clear your mind. Clearing your mind leads to a profitable nothing.
Occasionally, if my mind is racing, I might jot down a list of ideas. Recently, a daily doodle (like a sketchnote practice) review has helped build upon thoughts and visualize ideas on paper. Again, an exercise like this helps clear your mind and record your thoughts. Almost nothing – definitely productive.
If you own or operate your own business, a work-life blend might be best for real balance. There are some great strategies to get through your to-do lists. However, sometimes doing nothing IS the most productive thing to do.