When was the last time that you did nothing? No, we aren’t talking about anything that isn’t work related. Going to a spinning class after work is something; going out to a restaurant that you booked with your spouse weeks in advance is something; reacting to friends on a Whatsapp group because you have a case of FOMO (fear of missing out) is something.
Family teas, arrangements, activities and heaps of information being lodged into our tiny minds via our smart phones - when do we ever get the opportunity to truly DO NOTHING. We tend to associate doing nothing as lazy or unproductive. But actually, the art of doing nothing can be incredibly productive and refreshing. But how do you really do nothing?
Take a walk - no really, go out for a walk and look at the world around you
Observe your surroundings. If you have a park close to you, this is the perfect place to go for a wander. Channel your energy on something striking. Is there a large tree or maybe a lake that you can see? If so, find a nice place to sit and look at it and nothing else. You are now in the moment and at one with your surroundings, it's a great feeling and incredibly relaxing.
But maybe you don’t have a park. Maybe you live in a city where green spaces aren’t in large supply. No matter, there are other ways to practice the art of nothingness. Even when you are working, there are ways to do nothing - yes, we are being deadly serious.
Ever listened to podcasts?
They are a great way to relax and focus your mind on one person’s voice. ‘Tell me a story’ is something you probably asked your mum or dad when you were small. Now you can do this all over again - and the choice is limitless. Find a spot in your day and just listen to one person tell you their story and take your mind off Brexit, Donald Trump scandals and bleak economic forecasts and listen to something interesting. Staying on the subject of News or Fake News (whatever you want to call it), why not...
Switch off your phone
That's right, get that little device that you place on your desk and use too often and SWITCH IT OFF. Find a time in your day to not look at Instagram, Daily Mail celebrity pictures or Twitter. Ideally, do this before bed and go and relax. Focus your mind on a good book. We prefer fiction as it allows you to use your imagination and really lose yourself in another world.
Or if you prefer why not go meditate. You don’t need to do any of that ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’. Close your eyes, take some breaths and just sit. Take your mind off everything and listen to the sounds. If it happens to be warm outside, then do this on your balcony or in your garden or anywhere outdoors. You will be very surprised by how many different sounds you can hear. Try and listen to as many things as possible. Your mind will be fresh and clear. And it goes without saying - NO PHONES ALLOWED.
Have you ever put off doing odd jobs in your house?
Washing the dishes, cleaning your bathroom or clearing clutter - the small jobs that you always say you'll “do later” without specifying when that might be. But why not focus solely on completing these menial tasks? You will be shocked at how calming they make you feel. Channeling your focus on something that requires little effort is surprisingly relaxing. Plus, you can get something done that doesn’t feel like work at all. You will be doing nothing but you will be getting something done - mind blowing isn’t it.
Doing nothing is vital for all of us. But even more so for small business owners. Dangers of burnout and being overloaded are all too real. No one can function brilliantly at all times, which is why it's important to switch off from business and focus on you - even if it’s only for a little bit of time. By removing yourself from business, you are giving your mind a break and allowing it to recharge. Cars cannot run on no fuel, and neither can you.