During my recent talk on the topic of getting out of your own way on the path to success, I encouraged the 50-or so attendees to give themselves permission to be okay. It is most definitely okay to be okay, although so many of us don’t allow ourselves that simple and beautiful belief.
Similarly, with May being such a busy month, I’ve decided to carve out some time to do…nothing.
As the Dutch say: Niksen. Do you know it’s an actual thing?
The Dutch “Niksen means doing nothing or, more specifically, ‘doing something without a purpose, like staring out the window, hanging out, or listening to music,’ explained Carolien Hamming, a coach at CRS Centrum, an organization devoted to fighting stress and burnout. Hamming…regularly suggests niksen to worn-down clients.”
“Niksen not only gives you new energy and helps you stay balanced but it can also improve the quality of your sleep, she said.”
Basically, “you do nothing to keep yourself healthy.”
Even when we sleep, we are doing something. When is the last time you just sat and daydreamed, stared out the window or left your home for a walk to nowhere without any electronic devices? Impossible you say?
Well, research indicates that idleness yields creativity and productivity. Just by scheduling a few short breaks a day to step away from the task at hand will allow you to be better at whatever it is you’re striving for.
“Let the mind search for its own stimulation,” researcher Ms. Mann said. “That’s when you get the daydreaming and mind wandering, and that’s when you’re more likely to get the creativity.”
“Counterintuitively, idleness can be a great productivity tool because ‘if our energy is totally shot, our productivity is not going to be good because we’re not going to have fuel to burn with which to be productive,’ said Chris Bailey, a productivity expert and author of the blog “A Life of Productivity.”
Prioritization is key – if you are constantly procrastinating on the big, important stuff, and consumed with the small stuff you will have no space for free thinking. Tackle the big, life-changing priorities first and delegate the smaller items to the best of your ability.
We can do that, right?
Just like it’s okay to be okay, it’s okay to do nothing. Be patient with yourself while experimenting with nothingness. It may take time to give yourself space to practice it and recognize results.
It’s normal to experience self-consciousness, especially when in our world it often feels like the busiest person wins the competition. But this is not a competition. This is your life. Resist the urge to do something and do nothing (at least for short spurts of time). Don’t hide it, own it. Flex those Niksen muscles and reap the rewards.
And if you need a jump start, just stare at the photos I’ve incorporated into this post and let your mind take you away!
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™