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Busy doing nothing

Keeping busy may help you feel productive, or even accomplished, but constantly occupying yourself has its costs, both mentally and physically and actually make us less productive at work. So how can we use the power of doing nothing?

Let’s all “Do Nothing”

Doing nothing could be the key to a healthy and balanced life.

In modern life, more of us can find ourselves unable to juggle overwhelming demands in life so we end up doing too much. However, we can get more done if we start to do less. A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that ‘strategic renewal’, including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent holidays actually boosts productivity and health.

Why are we Always Busy?

Modern technology can make being idle difficult. Smartphones and tablets keep us connected from anywhere, 24 hours a day. Stepping away from our electronic devices can be tricky and in many ways, it is easier to stay busy than to do nothing.

There is also a matter of perception. People think that doing nothing is a sign of wasting time or being lazy. This can result in people feeling guilty when they are idle, so they just keep working, even when they don’t have to.

What is the problem?

A study found that roughly one in three people eat lunch at their desks and holidays aren’t always taken. Over half of all people who work admit that they expect to work while on holiday. Long hours might feel like a good way to climb the corporate ladder, but it can also lead to burn out. A survey found that 94% of professionals work 50 hours per week or more and nearly half of all people surveyed work at least 65 hours every week, which are both very long working weeks.

Whilst these long working weeks can produce financial benefits and quite possibly, promotions at work, but at what cost?

Working Too Much

There are costs to working too much. Spending more time working means having less time for the people in your life and less time to sleep. Researchers have found that getting less than six hours of sleep each night is one of the best predictors of burn out. Working too much can also be associated with low morale, depression, substance abuse, sleep deprivation, relationship breakdown, and disengagement at work. Over time, productivity can suffer.

So how about Instead of working harder, try work smarter. Take some time off and relax. A survey found that yearly employee performance improves by 8% for each 10 hours of holiday time they take. Employees who took holidays, were also less likely to quit the company.

Working Hard vs. Working Smart

When you allow yourself time to do nothing, you give your brain a chance to process experiences, consolidate memories, and reinforce learning. Your resting state is a powerful tool for regulating your emotions and maintaining the ability to focus. Rest will also help you make better decisions and be more productive in the long term. Rest time can also benefit your creativity too. Letting your brain rest can also trigger more imaginative thoughts and ideas.

Doing nothing can involve remaining still, but there are other ways to let your mind rest. Taking a walk, going for a drive, or reading a book each provides opportunities to shut your brain off. Having regular breaks helps as well. sometimes the biggest challenge is simply to learn to say no to unimportant tasks and prioritise activities correctly.

So the next time you feel tired or burnt out, take some time to ‘do nothing’ and regroup your brain. And more importantly, don’t be hard on yourself when you rest up. Taking time out in life is essential to rebuilding our resilience, both physically and mentally. Take care of yourselves and see you in the New Year.

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