The Art Of Doing Nothing

I try to stay busy. I work 40 hours at my main job and then depending on the time of year I have varying hours for marching band related things.

I have to find time to do research for things before I write a blog post about them and like to learn about other things as well. I’m also currently enrolled as a full time college student.

I regularly use breaks at work to do things for other jobs and try to keep up with school work. And no matter where I am I’m willing to answer questions and help people with each of those things.

Sometimes it’s hard to just stop.

Lucky is a little guy so he wakes me up at 4:30 to take him and Onyx outside. Then I have an hour before my wife and I work out. Lately I’ve been using some of this time to do nothing.

I don’t mean I turn the TV on for an hour or sit there on my phone or I get out my new green-to-white-to-gold-gradient puzzle and work on it just to pass the time. I set an alarm and literally do nothing for about 15 minutes.

Sometimes when people say they did nothing all day they mean they didn’t do the things they needed to do. They spent the day watching The Office again or playing games or sleeping. But those are all things they did.

I’m talking about actually doing nothing. Find a slot of time you can set aside when you can afford to not get distracted and set a timer. I’d say 10 minutes would be a good time frame to get started.

Next find somewhere comfortable to sit or lay down. I usually lay on the couch with Lucky curled up in the crook of my knees. He likes lying with me and being warm.

Turn off your phone. Lock your door. Put a sign up that says not to bother you unless the world is ending. Get rid of all distractions. You can keep your eyes open but I find it easier to shut out distractions if I close mine.

 I usually keep everything turned off when I do this but I suppose if you want some music or something for background noise you can. Just don’t put too much thought into what you choose. You will be actively not listening to these things.

Now just empty your mind and wait for your alarm to go off. I started doing this because I would sit and think about what I needed to do for the day. But my mind would wander too much. I didn’t want to be on my phone because it was too soon after waking up. Then I decided I would just focus on nothing.

I don’t think about things that happened yesterday or things that need to be done today or in the near future. Whenever something does try to make its way into my head I take a deep breath and get rid of it.

Sometimes I’ll fall asleep which is fine, but this isn’t an excuse to take a nap. If you want to take a nap you can go take a nap. We’re trying to do nothing.

Another place to try this other than lying on the couch would be in a bath. This could be a great opportunity to do nothing for a more extended period of time. Just make sure you don’t fall asleep.

You could also just bring a chair outside to do nothing. Then you have the added benefit of getting some fresh air. Well, it will be a benefit as long as you live in a place where the air is better outside than inside.

If you really have some free time to be able to take a day or even a half day to do nothing you can try to just wander. I haven’t had a chance to do this for a while but it can be a great way to unload.

It has mostly the same approach as doing nothing in one spot. Don’t get distracted by your phone. Try not to focus on things.

This is best done in a place that is familiar to you. You don’t want to take away from the experience by trying to remember the path you followed to get back when you are done.

Then just go until you don’t feel like going anymore. You can set a timer or watch for the sun to start going down.

If you do this on your own land, don’t use this as an opportunity to see what work needs to be done. And don’t treat this as an activity where you need to get your heart rate up to a certain number for it to count.


One thought on “The Art Of Doing Nothing

  1. I am terrible at doing nothing. I try it all the time. After about 15 seconds, I get bored. So I keep doing somethings to the point of total exhaustion. Then I sleep. Briefly. Then I wake up and start doing something all over again. I must admit. I should practice doing nothing more. I exhaust myself.

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