Being productive and doing nothing are not at opposite poles, so there’s no guilt in not doing anything.
We collectively desire progress in all aspects of our lives, whether in our careers or becoming the best version of ourselves. As a result, progress is always associated with movement. That’s why there are countless books on being productive, like how you can make the most out of your day. Doing nothing sounds like a step back from progress. This kind of mindset brings many people the feeling of restlessness instead of accomplishment.
According to Josh Cohen, a psychoanalyst, “the message that we can work harder and be better at everything—even rest and relaxation—results in a strange composite of exhaustion and anxiety, a permanent state of dissatisfaction with who we are and what we have.” For him it leaves people feeling that they are servants to rather than masters of their work.
Recent studies in health and psychology suggest that we don’t have to fill every moment with activity to be productive. Sometimes, the best we can do is to do nothing. Here are four reasons to perhaps convince you that doing nothing can not only make your mind healthier, but your day more productive.
Ideas Naturally Flow
The best creative ideas come out when you are not pressured to think. Usually creative pursuits are activities we’re passionate about. So it’s hard to come up with ideas when we feel like doing what we love as chore that needs to be accomplished. By simply staring at a wall, you visualize a story or concept—more than browsing through social media during breaks.
As Manfred De Vries, a French professor at INSEAD, shared in his article, “Doing nothing is a great way to induce states of mind that nurture our imagination.” Seemingly inactive states of mind can be an incubation period for future bursts of creativity.
You Gain More Energy
Excessive physical activities are not the only cause of fatigue, but also mental stressors could also drain one’s body.
It’s important to take a few hours a day to not do anything; avoid any activities that would stimulate your brain. This allows your mind to process your thoughts, relieves your stress, and make room for new information. A well rested mind makes you endure the long day ahead and get more work done.
You Appreciate What You Have
Sometimes, people are pressured to catch up on success by overworking themselves and forgetting to rest.
Doing nothing gives you time to relinquish what you already have and achieved. It lifts the burden to do more now and appreciate your pace.
Allows You To Live
It’s natural to allow yourself to just “be.” We are not robots that only have one job to do. The word productive is also used to describe something that produces a positive result. A positive result is not only a product of hard work, but a manifestation of what we feel inside.