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10 Reasons Why The Most Productive People Make Time For Doing Absolutely Nothing

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10 Reasons Why The Most Productive People Make Time For Doing Absolutely Nothing

Being productive can feel exhilarating. It can provide a rush that energizes you, inspires you, motivates you, and has you reach your goals. Productive people are focused on their goals and take charge of their lives.

It is a common misconception that productivity is tantamount to being busy. They are not one and the same. Busyness can happen at times, but it can really mean being over-committed instead. Sometimes, it is unavoidable. Sometimes, life throws us things to do that we did not plan on, nor do we have much of a choice about. The key to balancing these times of increased tasks is to take the time to “do nothing.” This nothing is intentional and fulfilling. It should not be confused with laziness or lack of drive. Doing “nothing” can actually increase your productivity.

Getting things done can take more than hard work, diligence, and knowledge. Sometimes, during “crunch times,” it can feel like the need to push is even stronger. You keep your head down and don’t allow any distractions to seep in. Working harder, is not necessarily the most productive way to accomplish tasks, however. It can lead to stress, burnout, insomnia, and even illness. In the effort to achieve greater success, we can actually lose our awareness and enjoyment of life

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Every now and then, a well-placed “timeout” can be extremely effective. When you are faced with so much to get done in so little time, it can feel overwhelming. It can feel like everything is an equal priority and has to all get done right away. You may go to bed wondering how you’ll ever get it all done. To-do-lists are great ways to jot down all you need to get done in your day, but the need to say “yes” to everyone and everything that comes along can actually hinder progress. Being busy can actually become a default setting. Worst of all, it may take energy away from the things you enjoy.

Some of the most productive people place importance not only on being effective, but also on the value of doing “nothing” so they can be more efficient at doing their many “somethings.”

Check out these 10 reasons why productive people make time for nothing:

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1. Doing nothing gives them perspective.

The big ideas often come when productive people step away from what they are working on. Taking a break and opting for a change of scenery can bring clarity when they return to their lives.

2. Doing nothing gives their bodies time to catch up on rest.

Rest and relaxation are keys to good health. Coincidentally, vital people get more done.

3. It leaves room for something new to come in.

When the most productive people step away from their busy lives, new people and experiences have the room to show up. The daily grind can lead to dissatisfaction and a hopeless feeling like nothing is getting done.

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4. Their creative fires are fueled.

Taking breaks can be the best muse.

5. Their minds quiet…

…and stress is alleviated when the most productive people take a timeout to themselves.

6.  Being prone allows our nervous system to rest.

According to Chloe Park of Mind Body Green.com, without this kind of relaxation, we are only operating at 70% capacity. Stress is actually counter-productive.

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7. Resting the body releases tension, which makes them able to endure longer days.

When they lay down to rest, their spines elongate, letting gravity give their bodies the rest they need to do more.

8. They mediate and find clarity and equanimity, alleviating stress and re-activity.

Oprah Winfrey talks about the value of meditation by saying, “Only from that space can you create your best work and your best life.”

9. They know if they do not take time to relish in their accomplishments…

…their productivity has no real value.

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10. They understand the power of saying “no”.

If they say no to some things they can actually give themselves the breathing room to say “yes” to do more of what they want in life.

Featured photo credit: Handsome hipster relaxing on campsite at a music festival via shutterstock.com

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Bridget Baker

Web Presence Sherpa

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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