MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING- Or The Ongoing Battle Between Feeling Guilty & Doing Nothing

If your gCal runs your life and you are always on the lookout on how to maximize efficiency, listen up.

 

I am you.


Nothing makes me more upset than inefficiency and knowing that I’ve wasted time. After all, there are things to do, people to see, classes to teach, passion projects to pursue and aint nobody got time for loafing around.

 

That is- until the other day.

 

Let me make it clear that I’m not a robot. I too need breaks and rest days. However, I’ve half-jokingly told loved ones that

doing nothing is only OK when I schedule it in.

As a Myers Briggs “J” through and through, I love a good pre-planned break and can wholeheartedly appreciate planned spontaneity. With that said, the other day I found myself in an internal battle with myself over, well, nothing.  

Do a quick google search and you’ll see that there are a gazillion apps out there that help us streamline our lives. To make things easier, smoother, and to leave us with more time to do more things.

More is the buzz word and we just can’t get enough.

 

The other day, a Wednesday, started just the same as any other. I woke up to my alarm, rolled around, and debated whether or not to go for a workout with a friend. I was exhausted, fighting off sickness, and only had 5-6 hours of sleep. A quick glance showed that she had texted to cancel. Taking that as a sign from the universe, I re-set my alarm for an hour later and proceeded to go back to bed.

 

Except I couldn’t. My heart was racing as I thought about all the things I had to do. A little voice inside my head said something along the lines of “C’mon Anita. You’re an entrepreneur which means you don’t have time to laze around like this. If you aren’t working, you aren’t getting paid so GET UP.”

 

I eventually crawled out of bed, put on running shoes, and went for an hour long jog to clear my head. Feeling a little bit better, I came back, did a yoga practice, and meditated for 20 minutes. I showered, made breakfast, had tea, and read the paper. At this point, I was nearly three hours into my “workday” yet had accomplished nothing. A small voice inside called me a slacker (team No Days Off would revoke my membership) while another voice- a little louder now after my morning of self care- reassured me that I can only be good to others if I’m good to myself.  

 

As someone who is self-employed, I am my own terrible boss.

The pressure is constant, the deadlines unrealistic, and I always feel like I’m falling behind in the race. In terms of what I’m running towards- who knows. We all know life isn’t a footrace yet to actually live and practice that is a whole other story.

 

I am reminded of a conversation I had with a friend last month (who is also a therapist). When she asked me what I did over the weekend, I responded “a lot of nothing”.

She then said- “What do you mean nothing? How are you doing nothing?”

Me: Nothing of importance.

Her: Well, what were you doing?

Me: Literally nothing. Sitting on my bed daydreaming? I don’t know.

Her: Well, that’s something.

 

We are quick to write something off as “nothing important” when really, it’s something- just maybe not the thing we envisioned ourselves doing or the place where we envisioned ourselves at the time. This craving of something just over the horizon is not uncommon and when that happens, it robs us of the present. Not only that, it also devalues the thing that we are doing in the moment.

Everything is something and everything is nothing- it’s where we place our value and awareness that makes it what it is.