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.
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!
No “take action” this week. Do nothing, and enjoy it!
[fblike style=”standard” showfaces=”false” width=”450″ verb=”like” font=”arial”]