Confessions of a do-aholic

Last week, right after finishing with my last client of the day, I quickly ate a snack then flew out the door to get to salsa class on time. I arrived only to learn that the level 1 was cancelled for that night, but the level 2 was happening in an hour as scheduled. Gasp! I usually do both classes back-to-back. What to do with all this extra time?

 

My first inclination was to call it quits and just head home to get more work done for the day. That’s right. Not to relax but to be productive. Then I realized, this was a golden opportunity to wonder around aimlessly and do absolutely nothing productive for an hour. It was a gift! Instead of filling the precious space with doing, embrace the art of being.

42 Cat and Dog
If only we could be more like these guys.

 

It’s true my friend. My name is Sasha and I’m a do-aholic. At the beginning of each week I write down my action items for the week. Then I look at my client load and fill in all the blank spaces with my to-do’s. If time opens up, my tendency is to ask myself right away, ooh yay, what can I do instead?

 

Of course, this has its advantages. I am a very productive person and I’m generally on top of things in my life. It’s pretty rare for something to fall by the wayside and be neglected. As a business owner, these traits are incredibly useful as there is never a short supply of things to get done. Also, I’m never bored! I can’t even comprehend what boredom is. It’s not that I’m always working, but if I have time to myself, I fill it by reading (something educational of course), writing, drawing, hiking, doing laundry, calling my mom, etc etc. Life is never boring.

 

The downside is I have very little free flowing wiggle room in my self-imposed schedule and I tend to feel very tired by the week’s end. Here’s the real confession though. When I do take the time to really and truly do nothing productive, I feel guilty! Even if watching a TV show I love, half way through an episode I’ll start getting mad at myself for not doing something more mind-expanding with my time. I tell ya, I just can’t win.

 

The issue of doing all the time seems very much to be a female disease, particularly of my generation. That’s not to say there aren’t men that operate the same way, but I know so many women of the same ilk as me when it comes to over-filling schedules or being hyper-planned. Being productive is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but the brain and the spirit need time to wonder aimlessly, to be unoccupied, to just be.

 

Here’s what I’ve come to learn in observing this behavior in myself:

1)    I must celebrate the fact that I am an action-oriented productive person that is never bored. That is awesome, and making myself feel bad about it is not going to get me anywhere. Embrace this side of who I am and all it allows me to accomplish!

2)    When I do decide in a given moment to just let go and do nothing productive, I must embrace it completely, celebrate that moment for what it is and banish guilty thoughts from entering my mind space. Be present in the nothingness.

3)    I am much better able to enjoy nothing time with another human or when out of town. When I’m in someone else’s presence, particularly someone I love to be with, I allow myself to let go and just chill. When I’m on vacation, I’m an entirely different human being. I deplore schedules and make every effort to keep plans to a minimum. Therefore, making time to be with friends and getting out of town once-in-a-while are two important elements of self-care in my life.

 

So what did I end up doing that night when I suddenly had time to wonder freely with nothing to? I strolled around, I people-watched, and I indulged in a hefty serving of Yogurtland! I don’t even eat dairy products, but it looked delicious all of a sudden, so I went for it. After that, I went to salsa class feeling more relaxed and able to just enjoy myself rather than getting caught up in the steps. Fun!

42 yogurtland
Sweet nothingness…

 

No “take action” this week. Do nothing, and enjoy it!

 

With love,

Sasha

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Published by Sasha Marie Stone

Happiness Engineer at Automattic, work-from-home wellness expert, life coach, and dog mom.

8 thoughts on “Confessions of a do-aholic

  1. Sash, this is so perfectly written, all of it so true! especially number 3 where you point out the importance of getting out of town being so important to self-care, another wonderful Wellness Wednesday!!!!!! Thank you

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  2. Hello dear Sasha,

    I love your newsletters and your musings. This one hits very close to home as I am quite overwhelmed with a lot on my plate at the moment. I have no problem what so ever doing absolutely nothing, I just wish I could do it more often. I find it challenging that my “me” time needs to be fed on so many levels, I need more hours: time to just chill with my daughter, my mother, dance classes i take, yoga classes that i take and not teach, watching movies, reading, sitting quietly alone in my empty house, napping, writing, cooking. And my newest most favorite thing, curled up in the arms of the man i love and just listening to each other breathe. All of these things feed me and nourish me. How to fit them all in….I am ready to retire and just have this be my life. Love to you Sasha

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    1. I know exactly what you’re saying. I always say I would make an awesomely productive wealthy person because there’s so much I want to do all the time. Let’s be sure to dance, cook, read, and chill together soon. Love you xo

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  3. Love it! We do-aholics need to take baby steps — an hour of non-doing here and there — or the system can go into shock. Now that I live in a walkable neighborhood, I’ve been walking to lunch and spending some time on my way back just wandering and exploring the area. So fun!

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    1. Awesome Patty! Glad you are enjoying your time in your new neighborhood. I find roaming around to be one of the best ways for me to do nothing. Just walk, check things out, admire buildings, flowers, the sky. And being outside tends to refresh an re-energize me. Glad you’re enjoying your new neighborhood!

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  4. Congrats Sash for doing nothing on that day…

    The biggest reason I can’t meditate is I feel like it’s something “to-do” not like letting myself go…
    Sometimes “letting onself go” can be another “to do” list(paradox..but it’s true..)-it’s my silly “head” telling me what I should do….
    Nowadays, I constantly tell myself…”slow down” “steady wins the race” “baby steps” and so forth…
    My dream is, I hope one day all of this “letting go of myself” will become automatic/spontaneous.

    I’m trying to bring things from my head to heart fully… hope it just naturally flows within…
    ex)enjoying fully…not having schedules when I’m focusing on one thing…(sometimes, the more you do, “to-do” lists pile up in head…then I get exhausted!!!)-I guess this is more of trying to be productive and not being focused on the present.

    I would love to meditate…get all the “I- made-up-thoughts” down to my heart…

    It’s like when I meditate(usually I pray), I bring so much things to God…
    I would like to quit having “I would like’s” “It would be better if’s” and so on…

    any tips?

    trying to shut my busy head,
    JUNG

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    1. Hi Jung,
      All good points. Meditation is definitely something to do, but it’s the best thing to do as when you are finished, all the stressing about all that has to be done generally melts away, and you are able to focus on one thing at a time. Meditation is not relaxation. Really, we need both.
      Here’s how I view the difference between meditating and praying. When you pray, you are talking to God. When you meditate, you are listening to God. At that point, the requests stop, and you simply breath and listen. It opens you up to answers, possibilities, and awareness. Often we pray but give no opportunity for God to answer. I pray first, then meditate right after. It’s a beautiful way to start the day.
      Love, Sash

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  5. Hi Sasha, Boredom is not an option. You can have control over your being, or be controlled by some other being. I find myself in my apartment, wanting to do something like wash the dishes, do my laundry, wash my bed sheets. It gets my mind off the stupid little unnecessary thoughts. I get out to McDonalds once in a while. That’s where I spoil myself, have a McFlurry (Oreo is my favorite). We need that change of environment. I agree with your mom getting out-of-town being so important to self-care. I find do more for your self-care, and everything else comes into harmony. So I continue that way.

    David

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