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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 March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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