How To Do Nothing: A Guide For People Who Are Always Doing Something

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woman napping

Everyone is busy — with family, jobs, volunteer work, or a mix of everything. Life is a juggling act!

As a professional organizer, one of the things I juggle is how I spend my time.

And it’s important for your mental health to find some time in your busyness to do nothing.

What does "doing nothing" mean? It means you're not doing anything on your "to-do" task list.

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You know that you're always doing something so it's time to learn how to do nothing.

Often, someone asks, "What are you doing?"

If I’m not doing something on my task list, I reply, "Nothing." But, honestly, I'm either watching T.V., reading a book or a magazine, working on my needlepoint, or maybe perusing social media.

When you say you're doing nothing, you often mean that you're doing nothing important.

I dislike writing that because the things I do when I'm doing nothing are important to me. But it’s OK to interrupt me when I’m doing them.

A better response than saying "nothing" may be "It's OK to interrupt me." That lets the person asking know that whatever it is that I’m doing, I can stop for a few minutes to talk to them or help them with a task.

So, find some time to do the things you do when you're doing nothing.

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Why is it important to do nothing?

When you're doing nothing, you give your mind the space to dream and think outside the box — to have those "Aha!" moments.

One of the reasons I love my early morning walks with my dogs, Miles and Josie, is that I let my mind wander. I just walk along with my dogs.

We listen to the birds, admire the flowers and the gardens in front of people’s houses. As we continue our walk things sometimes pop into my brain.

It can be an idea for a gift, something to do, someplace to visit, the solution to a client’s organizing problem, or an idea for a blog.

Sometimes, nothing interesting or important occurs and that's fine, too. The peace and quiet of this early morning walk with Miles and Josie is something I treasure.

I also let my mind wander when I sit and work on my sewing. I love to do fine petit point needlework and am currently working on a needlepoint Christmas stocking for my grandson.

This is a task I love but also one that I do when I’m doing nothing.

It’s easiest for me to find some time to do nothing in the early morning and in the evening.

What do you do when you’re doing nothing?

Here are some suggestions: nap, read a book for fun, putter in the garden, sit in a quiet place, relax in a hammock, gaze at the stars, pet a dog or cat, or take a walk.

How do you find the time for it?

My friend and colleague, Jonda Beattie, sets aside two days a month to spend with her husband doing things they want to do or doing nothing at all — just spending time together.

Can you plan a day like that?

Put some boundaries in place to help you find some time in which to do nothing.

You may decide that once a month you will have a day to yourself. A day during which you will decide how you want to spend the time.

Maybe you meet up with friends for an adventure. Or maybe you spend the day playing tourist in your hometown. You can get up very early (like I do) and have some time in the morning to just be.

Where you decide to carve out the time is up to you, but do not underestimate the value of doing nothing. It feeds your soul.

This is another way to take care of yourself so that you can take care of those you love.

So, find some time during the day to do nothing. Every now and then find an entire day, maybe even a couple of days in a row, to be completely untethered from the schedule.

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Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Contact Diane for a free 30-minute phone consultation.

This article was originally published at DNQ Solutions. Reprinted with permission from the author.