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Next Saturday (or maybe the one after that) is “Doing Nothing Day”

Next Saturday (or maybe the one after that) is “Doing Nothing Day”
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Today is Columbus Day in the USA and Thanksgiving in Canada. We have commemorative days for famous people, famous events and (in many parts of the world) religious festivals. I want to suggest that you establish a special day specially for yourself: for allowing yourself time and space to be who you are—and to look a little more deeply into what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

You can call it Doing Nothing Day, and celebrate it as often as you need it.

What happens on Doing Nothing Day?
Absolutely nothing. That’s the whole purpose of it: a day free from striving and achieving and getting and coping with everyone else’s demands. A day for yourself, when you can walk or sit and think without celebrating, observing, or honoring anything or anyone besides yourself. No working, no worrying, no planning, no socializing, no sitting slumped in front of the TV.

On Doing Nothing Day, stay in the moment, holding onto nothing, striving after no thought or ambition or goal. Be who you are,
without judgment, fear or concern.

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Slow down. Stop worrying about anything; it will all be there tomorrow, ready for you to begin fretting and obsessing over again. For today—Doing Nothing Day—spend the time with yourself. Get to know this person, the person you are. In all the rush and bustle of the world, you’ve probably become strangers. Take time out to be together, find out about one another, to become friends again.

Above all, do nothing. Be like the House of Lords in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta, who “. . . did nothing in particular—and did it very well.” Try not to focus on getting anything done, even thinking. Take a walk. Look around. Just be.

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You’re alive, which is a marvel in itself, and one that won’t last for ever. Enjoy it.

Every little helps . . .
If you can’t manage a day, hold a Doing Nothing Morning, or even a Doing Nothing Hour. Anything will be useful. Allowing yourself to do nothing from time to time is wonderfully good for your mental health and well-being.

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You spend so much time thinking about what you’re going to do and trying to accomplish all the things you plan. Take a little time off. Spend it living your life, not living your ambitions, or someone else’s plans and needs, or some conventional idea you only half believe in. Rediscover the wonder of doing nothing in particular, like a child spending hours engrossed in nothing you could easily describe other than being a child and enjoying being alive.

When your Doing Nothing Day is over, I think you’ll return to your usual activities refreshed, renewed, and a tad more alive than before.

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I’ll also be surprised if you don’t return with some surprising insights.

Try it. You have nothing to lose.

Adrian Savage is a writer, an Englishman, and a retired business executive, in that order, who now lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his other articles at Slow Leadership, the site for everyone who wants to build a civilized place to work and bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership and life, and its companion site Slower Living. His recent articles on similar topics include lRight Attention and How to find all the time you need. His latest book, Slow Leadership: Civilizing The Organization

    , is now available at all good bookstores.

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2020

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

    Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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    Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

    However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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    The leap happens when we realize two things:

    1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
    2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

    Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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    Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

    My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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    In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

    “Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

    Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

    More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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