Your to-do list is checked off…completely.
Your inbox may not be at zero but there is nothing else that you need to respond to today.
It’s raining so the garden is out of the question.
Your husband is late from work, caught on a troubleshooting mission that won’t be resolved anytime soon.
The house is still. You contemplate starting on tomorrow’s list. STOP
I want you to take a moment and enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing. As hard is it may be, don’t start scrubbing the stove or cleaning out your closet. Yes, they need to be done but they don’t have to be done right this minute.
When was the last time an opportunity arose to just stop and do nothing? When it did, was it so uncomfortable and odd feeling that you jumped immediately onto some other project to escape it? I know I used to look for a way to fill the moments by taking on the next day’s list, to get a jump start on the next busy day. It took a long time to give myself permission to stop working and do nothing.
I started Thrive Personal Fitness while working a full time desk job almost seven years ago. For the first year or two, I went non-stop. I had to if I was ever going to be able to leave my paycheck job. I had to because I wore all the hats. I had to because I had not yet learned to say no and what it was I really wanted out of work and life.
One day I did quit that desk job. Eventually I found time to really connect with my WHY. I figured out how to say NO to the things that didn’t get me closer to my goals. I learned I could not burn the candle at both ends without burning out. I asked for help when I needed it.
Amazingly one day I found myself with time….to spare? Giving myself permission to sit with a cup of tea and a book or to simply look out the window was a scary option. Stopping, I found, was much harder than starting.
Stopping takes practice. You have to work at letting go of the guilty feeling it can bring. It’s hard to ignore the feeling of “what am I forgetting?” and “isn’t there something I should be working on?”.
Truth be told there probably is something you forgot or another project that needs your attention. There is also truth in saying it will still be there tomorrow or that it can wait an hour.
Like today, for example. Today I have given myself a day off before leaving for IDEA World Fitness. I could have seen clients today. (Don’t worry, they ALL have homework.) I could be working on my next BIG THING. Instead I am giving myself permission to take time to do NOTHING. I will answer some emails and have lunch with a friend. The laundry and my packing are mostly done but there are a few last minutes things to put in my suitcase. Otherwise my agenda is pretty clear. I have no reason not to sit back today and mentally rest so I can be ready for the whirlwind of a week that is ahead.
I challenge you this week (or month) to find the Sweetness of Doing Nothing. Or, as the Italians say, Il Dolce Far Niente. As uncomfortable as it may be, I want you to make time to be still. I want you to find some quiet, to be present and enjoy a little calm before whatever storm is brewing.
Whatever you’re tempted to do in those minutes, or hours, I promise it can wait.