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  • Writer's pictureMadhura

Power of doing NOTHING

Hello my dear friend ! How are you doing today? How’s your week starting? Did you have a relaxing Sunday? I was a bit confused between whether to call my Sunday a productive Sunday or a lazy, laid back Sunday because my day had two extremes. I woke up late and stayed in bed just chatting with kids for a while. We all had a very relaxing and slow morning. We had a very late breakfast. Most of our Sunday morning was spent in a series of video calls to my sister, grandparents, and cousins. We barely got ready by lunch time. I was not in a mood to cook anything elaborate so we made do with whatever we had on hand, some leftovers, some freshly cooked , it was all mishmashed but we had a nice lunch where everyone stayed on table and ate without whining and talking too much (you got it , who am I talking about right? ) Can you believe I even had an hour-long nap after lunch? I can not believe I am talking about my own Sunday schedule. My Sunday hardly looks like this. I like to prepare for the week on Sundays. So even though I start Sunday slowly, by the time afternoon rolls around I am in a completely different zone, all ready to hustle, plan and prepare. I totally understand that it has its own advantages. In fact, I wanted to talk about the three things that I do on Sunday evening that make my Monday less awful or shall I say less stressful. That was the original topic that I wanted to record today. I wish I could show you my notes. I have it all written down. I have my list of three things ready but I don’t know why but today is different. I am not in a mood to talk about productivity. I am in a mood to relax, so that’s new.

But to be very frank, this is not my typical episode. This week was not a typical week. I generally have the episode for next week ready by Monday but this episode is a complete exception in many ways. I am recording this on Sunday night, just 12 hours before releasing the episode. I changed a complete idea behind the episode last minute. I am recording this episode without any preparation. But that is what I want to talk about today. I completely get it. You can not be all motivated, charged up, at your productive best every single second of your life. There are going to be days when you don’t feel like getting up from that couch. There are going to be days when it just feels best when you just lay on your couch and binge watch your favorite show. I know I just did an episode on how to turn your day from blah to yeah and I talked a lot about how to turn your day around. But what if there is something good in doing nothing. Sometimes, isn’t it just amazing to simply do nothing. Let’s talk about the power of doing nothing today and let me tell you from how I am feeling right now, it does have the power. But of course not before the happy moment of the week.

Happy Moment of the Week

I am batching a lot of my podcast episodes for the summer as I have a crazy schedule during summer months, more about that later. During this batching process, I got a chance to talk to some lovely ladies, I got an honor to talk to some fellow podcasters, some friends, and family too. Just this week, I had a very nice and hearty conversation with one of my or shall I say my sister’s friend. She is an inspiration. I can not wait for you to listen to her interview on my show. We reconnected after so many years and it was the best time I had this week. It was just simply amazing. It felt as if the years in between had not even passed. I am still smiling thinking about the lovely conversation we had. This was definitely my highlight of the week. Now, it’s your turn, tell me your happy moment. Tell me one thing that brought you joy, that brought a smile on your face. I can not wait to read all your beautiful happy moments in our weekly post. Join my Facebook group - Morning Cup of sunshine. We share a lot of inspirational things with the group. The only goal of that group is to spread some joy, happiness and positivity around. Alright, ready to get back on today’s topic, the power of doing nothing.

Few days back, I was talking to my sister. She called me after she finished listening to one of my episodes. The episode was on Time Blocking. My sister is my very first supporter and of course a critique. Her opinion means the world to me. She always speaks her mind. She always tells me what works and what doesn’t in my episodes or for that matter in every aspect of my life. After listening to the Time Blocking episode, she said, the episode is good, tips are good but it feels this is just too much. Not everyone can or wants to write down the list of roles, responsibilities, and priorities. Some of us don’t want to take this additional burden. After listening to the episode, it definitely feels like we should do it but then we never really get around writing that list. Should I feel like a failure if I can not really make everything so streamlined and work on my responsibilities to the T. What if I just don’t want to do nothing for a day or a two? I was simply left in awe of her perspective. It was on point. Should you feel like a failure if you are not as productive as someone else? Should you feel like a failure if you don’t have everything put together all the time? No, absolutely not. That was never my intention. I never want anyone to feel like a failure just because they can not get everything done. This is not why I talk about productivity, goals, and dreams on this show. That conversation got me thinking. Is there a way to do nothing and still feel good about yourself? Are there any benefits of doing nothing? Doing nothing, is it similar to blank canvas that I talk a lot about in my episodes? To be very honest, this week gave me a chance to really think about it. This week was filled with a lot of ups and downs. On one hand, I had that fantastic interview for my podcast and on the other hand, the week was filled with some very tough decisions. I have said this in the past. Mental fatigue is a real thing. Sometimes, it tires you even more than your physical fatigue. That’s what exactly happened this week. I had to make so many decisions this week, ranging from some professional work related decisions to choosing a vacuum cleaner for our new home. Let me tell you, the amount of time, energy and research that goes into finding a correct vacuum cleaner, deals on vacuum cleaner is just plain enormous. Yet, I am here without a vacuum cleaner because the one that we liked is now out of stock everywhere. Looks like everybody arrived at the same decision as me and decided to buy at exactly the same time too. Anyways, I am going on a tangent. So, when Sunday rolled around and I had nowhere to go and nothing to do, it was a perfect opportunity to test the power of doing nothing. So, literally I did nothing. Sounds funny right? I thought I would feel sluggish and defeated by afternoon and I would beat myself up for wasting the time but let me tell you, I am recording this episode at 9.30 pm at night, and I did not feel a bit sluggish or I did not beat myself up even a single bit. I am rather feeling relaxed, ready to take on a new week with more energy and more zest. So, there’s definitely some power that boosts your mood when you do nothing. I feel contrary to popular belief, actually switching off, taking a complete break from your fast paced life boosts your productivity. I feel more ready than ever to start my new week. I also think, since you take a brain break, it helps you clarify your thoughts. You get more clarity. It definitely helps you to be more creative. I am so surprised myself, how energized I feel today to record a completely unplanned episode. I have not read a single article o a book specifically about it. I did not list down any points before I started recording but I can see my creative juices flowing because I am much more relaxed. Letting our minds wander while we ‘do nothing’ is pretty much essential if we’re to harness our creativity. We all have come to know the benefits of slow living and I think doing nothing for at least sometime every single day is the stepping stone towards slow living. I think it is very similar to my blank canvas but that blank canvas or white space is only for a few minutes. Here it is a little more extensive. I think doing nothing is more powerful than what we assume it would be. Now, more than ever, we fill our schedules to the brim with tasks that feel so necessary in the moment but which, in reality, are so trivial. We make to-do lists that run miles long, packing them with reminders to get an important assignment done at work, call the dentist for an appointment, buy some groceries on the way home, and so on.

You tell yourself that you constantly take on a plethora of activities in order to improve your life. It makes sense to invite the guest over , to celebrate your kid’s birthday by doing everything from scratch, if you haven't had the time in your schedule to sleep eight full hours in months.

It's much easier to do almost anything incessantly than to spend time doing nothing. However, it is one of the most difficult tasks to do. Because we are distracted by our surroundings and tempted to do something all the time, we hardly appreciate what we can earn from doing simply nothing. Just like our bodies need rest, our brains need a moment of thoughtlessness to rejuvenate themselves. I think Doing nothing” is essential in between periods of absorbing or memorizing information. This is a great way to improve your concentration. Just imagine you finish your first meeting and there are 5 minutes before you have to go on another meeting. If you tend to spend those 5 minutes scrolling mindlessly on your phone, rather than just doing nothing or just simply taking a well deserved brain break in order to gather your thoughts for the next meeting, which one do you think will help you more? It is extremely important to sometimes just do nothing to feed your soul and your own mind. I think it is a powerful tool to avoid self criticism. If you keep on doing something, filling your day to the brim of spilling and still you can’t get some minor thing done, you criticize yourself as if you are a total failure. But if you keep a room for just doing nothing, you give yourself a chance to rest, regroup and rejuvenate. Sometimes, doing nothing gives you an opportunity to stop criticizing yourself. You can create something when there is nothing right? If you already are too busy to even notice what excites you , what makes you happy, how will you find your true happiness if you don’t even have time to look for it. Sometimes the emptiness makes you lightheaded, and you stand for a moment, swaying in the dusky light. You suddenly become aware of your breathing. For the first time, you notice what a whipped-up tower of confused emotions you have become. There’s always the cost of working too much, eating too much, filling your schedule too much. When you allow yourself time to do nothing, you give your brain a chance to process experiences, consolidate memories, and reinforce learning. Your resting state is a powerful tool for regulating your emotions and maintaining the ability to focus. Rest will also help you make better decisions and be more productive. Downtime benefits your creativity too. Letting your brain rest can trigger more imaginative thoughts and ideas. You find your way of doing nothing. Sometimes, just spending a lazy Sunday with your family could be your form of doing nothing. Other Times, taking a walk in the nice walkway could be your form of doing nothing. Just keep your phone at home, don’t even wear your smartwatch to track the steps, don’t listen to anything on your headphones. Try to listen to your inner self. This is the one of the best forms of doing nothing. It could even be writing. Just write because you want to write not to create a blog, or a podcast episode or to publish anywhere. Write because you want to write, express yourself. I understand that it is not possible to do nothing every single day, you have a responsibility, you have work to do, kids to take care of, chores to finish. But finding that pocket of time just to do nothing is extremely crucial especially since you have a lot of things to do for the rest of the day. I understand, it could be an uphill battle for some days. You might not be convinced enough or you see your mile long list and you think it is absolutely impossible to take a break right now. Making time in your life to do nothing can be challenging — especially during the work week where we are constantly pummeled and bombarded with meetings, notifications and an ever growing list of tasks. But let’s try to take some time from your busy schedule just to do nothing. Don’t underestimate the power of doing nothing. Of going along, listening to things that you can’t hear and not bothering.

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