Sunday, 27 August 2017

The art of doing nothing




It's no coincidence that our most hectic life phases are often synonymous with our lowest levels of productivity. I say this from both first- and second-hand experience. The bigger the to-do list(s), the more overwhelming the "dos" become – so you don't. And yet we continue to perpetuate the normalisation, not to mention glorification, of being too busy to just be.

How many times have you been asked the small talk classic "how are you?" and responded with the equally anticipated "tired," "busy," or some other synonymous variation? We're all guilty of it, and this isn't to dispute that you're actually tired or busy. But: constantly reminding yourself (and others) of that fact does nobody any favours.


Far from enabling original, engaging conversations – which can (and should) be an incredibly energising part of our day – this type of chat encourages an unhealthy ping pong match of one-upmanship, as if feeling exhausted is the pinnacle of prosperity. It exacerbates the equation of cool with a life practice that's unsustainable, draining and – paradoxically – inefficient.

Working hard and working incessantly are not one and the same. Much more pivotal are the intentions and purpose in the act of doing – the quality of time utilised – rather than the quantity of hours spent being a hotheaded busybody. We've never had so many technological "aids" at our disposal, and yet we find ourselves in a relentless cycle of meetings, multitasking and mobile apps. Having the space to focus on just one task, see it through and, above all, do it well, can seem like an unattainable luxury.

In short: the all-pervasive "no days off" mentality is detrimental to a long-term healthy mind and body. The societally imposed synonymity between working 24/7 and being successful is more harmful than helpful. On the other hand, granting your (one and only) body the time to stop, feel, process and recover is an essential means of restoring the energy and headspace to perform at our best – and in turn, get more done.

I'm tired of our tiredness. We're all busy. Not having enough time is the new black – it's up to us to buck the trend.

 

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