The surprising benefits of doing absolutely nothing

Do you ever allow yourself to do absolutely nothing? I find myself remembering days when I would lie on my back staring at the clouds and imagine that they’re taking on the shapes of various animals. I used to be quite content just being. Sitting somewhere doing nothing.

These days, even if the thought occurs to me, I can’t slow down long enough. What with the guilt that is sure to spoil the moment. I’m sure you can relate.

We live in a culture that sees time as a commodity that is scarce and must be filled with as much as possible, so we don’t waste it. Our thinking has become so twisted that we even glorify multitasking as something that adds value to our time.

Doing nothing is seen as a waste of precious time. Almost a crime.

But is it? Is there no value in taking a long leisurely bath or staring out the window at nothing in particular?

Why is it that we believe that being productive, always keeping busy is admirable, worthy of the highest praise? Why is it that we feel better when we’re running on the treadmill that exhausts us, than getting off and having a sandwich in the park? We have come to equate being busy with being good.

Good employees have their lunch at the computer while either continuing to be “productive” or fooling themselves that they’re taking a break from work by browsing the internet.


That’s not a break. A real break would be getting out of the office and finding out what the day looks like outside. But we don’t allow ourselves that break that would revitalize us for the afternoon shift.

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Of course the advent of the smartphone and the “always on” has only served to consolidate the importance of productivity over the need for personal space and time.

This is the kicker:

We fool ourselves that taking time to browse the internet is equal to time out. It is not. We get distracted and overstimulated with a host of information that adds nothing to our sense of wellbeing. In fact, that’s a waste of time in the real sense of the word.

On the other hand, doing absolutely nothing is not a waste of time. It feels the complete opposite of being productive, but it isn’t.

Watching the day grow quiet and the light fade into blackness with nothing on your mind other than that which is in front of you is a different kind of productivity. The kind that frees your tired mind and feeds your soul. The kind that opens up new possibilities while restoring your faith in life and yourself.

Here’s the excuse we usually use:

I am too busy to do nothing. Really? How much time do you spend watching TV, browsing the internet, or scrolling through your phone? Any of those activities could be better spent devoted to yourself. It could be a very fulfilling experience.

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