Doing nothing certainly does not have to mean achieving nothing. It is a concerning factor of modern life that every second of our time is seen to have a monetary value. Many of us are feeling the pressure to maximise productivity and ‘make the most’ of our time. But what does this actually mean? Many individuals are advocating the value of allowing oneself to simply do nothing. For many who feel trapped in a whirlwind of ‘life-hacks’, efficiency and running out of time, learning the art of doing nothing could be the answer.

lady sat by lake looking at mountains

Who’s Doing Nothing?

Is it possible that not enough of us are doing nothing? As the line between work and life becomes less defined, and technology allows us to be contactable and connected 24/7, it is unsurprising that the need to be more idle is not a top priority in today’s society, let alone making attempts to achieve it. In addition, the word idle conjures negative connotations of laziness and unprofitable time. A movement of support comes from a wide variety of individuals such as Jenny Odell who are speaking out on the importance of doing nothing. When artist and academic Jenny Odell published a talk she had written online, it went viral and received thousands of positive comments from people who felt like they had discovered the answer. The speech explains Jenny’s discovery of doing nothing, and how she found being present in nature gave her the ability to achieve it. She explains that only isolating one cause of a chaotic lifestyle, for example, work or technology, is not enough to assume greater control. Instead, she encourages people to gain a fresh perspective in the world around them and using this awakening to find momentary relief.

brown and white cow standing by river in field

Why Should I do Nothing?

There are some examples of how being idle can not only be positive as a self-care act, but how it can promote productivity in certain individuals. Tom Hodgkinson, editor of magazine The Idler, encourages us to embrace a more relaxed approach to life. Much of Tom’s writing is based on how allowing oneself to be idle can lead to higher capacity for processing problems and boost creativity. A common argument is that when we are procrastinating or avoiding a task, our brains are subconsciously working on the issue at hand. Some people find that by not worrying about the task or problem, and coming back to it at a later time, they actually have a fresh perspective and new ideas in which to tackle it. Furthermore, later in Jenny’s speech she argues that if people allow themselves to do nothing, guilt-free, the resulting physical and mental rest achieved may promote levels of productivity.

boat on sea by white mountains

How Can I do Nothing?

For those who are seeking to pause from the demanding pull of life, learning how to do nothing could help them achieve a better work-life balance. Doing nothing can be an act of mindfulness, meditation or part of a self-care routine; The key to reaping the benefits, is not to feel guilty about it. It can be an enjoyable task, which will come in a rainbow of varieties for every individual; the only thing to remember is to enjoy it. As Jenny Odell mentions, nature can be a particularly powerful tool to help the mind stray and feel refreshed. She suggests viewing nature in a way that is totally new to the observer, paying special attention to the colours, sounds and sights, and using this gathered insight to look at more of life in this way. There are some dos and don’ts to remember when learning how to do nothing:

· Don’t put pressure on doing nothing, getting stressed because you haven’t had time to do nothing is the antithesis of the act.
· Do something you enjoy.
· Don’t feel guilty or like you are wasting time.
· Do be aware of the productive capabilities of rest, both physically and mentally.

At Balance Holidays, we aim to equip you with the tools to achieve a better balance in life. Our yoga retreat holidays are uniquely designed to promote wellness in a way that can be taken in and further nourished after your stay with us. For more information on our retreat programmes and luxury destinations, browse our website and feel free to get in touch.