The do nothing approach is a piece of advice I often give to my friends who do too much and often feel burnt out. It’s a technique I’ve been implementing in my own life and it works quite well. Oddly enough, it’s not easy, and it requires practice. But here’s an easy way to start.
Lay down and do nothing.
To make things easier for you, I recommend laying on something comfy like a yoga mat, and to make it even better, put on some music you like. Something a little downtempo, to help your mind relax. Now breath. Stretch out your arms. Stretch out your legs. You don’t have to lay neatly on the floor. Allow yourself to be messy. Don't think about your past. Don’t think about your future. Don’t think about all the goals you’ve yet to achieve. Don’t think about the failures and the mistakes either.
This will be hard. After all, our minds are built to think.
If you find your mind is still cluttered with thoughts, try to take a step back. And by a step back, I mean a mental step back. Get outside yourself and realize that you are not your thoughts. Instead, the thoughts you are experiencing are merely the multitude of scenes that play out in the theater of your mind. It’s not you. Watch them pass by like you’d watch clouds pass by as a child laying on the lawn. Notice the detachment. They come. Then they go.
Keep breathing. Laying down. Doing nothing.
Doesn’t it feel good? To have this one moment for yourself? To do nothing else but to breath?
From that point on I’d say to start doing that every night before you go to sleep. Too often we’re left staring at our screens right before bed. Checking up on our latest social media notifications. It’s extra stimulation we do not need as it adds little value to our lives and does not aid in our sleep.
Once you get into the habit of that, then try applying it to other parts of your life.
No, you don’t have to lay down every time, but see if you can find other moments throughout your day, or just your overall life where you can just do nothing. Maybe, you don’t have to be so strict with your workout routine. Maybe you don’t have to work so hard to meet those deadlines. Maybe it’s okay to just stay in on a Friday night and draw in your sketchbook for no other reason but the fact that you enjoy it.
Who knows, take an 8-month sabbatical. Stop working. Stop trying to create the next thing. Stop trying to pitch to clients. Stop updating your portfolio. Stop trying to check off all those boxes on your list.
I’ve been implementing these techniques in my life for the past few months. And it’s been doing great things for me. I hope it does the same for you as well.
by Jason Lam