Arrrrrrg. I don’t feel like writing. I don’t feel like working. I don’t want to DO anything!
There are days when I close my morning journal, fire up my computer and
I have this BIG list of ONE important thing I NEED to do, have committed to getting done. You know … it’s the one all the Gurus say you should do first.
I don’t want to do it.
Not only do I not want to do the ONE important thing on my list, I don’t want to do all the small “move me ahead” things to do. I don’t even want to do any of the totally brainless things on my list.
What DO I want to do?
Absolutely, f*%kinglutely NOTHING.
I don’t want to work.
Read a book? NO.
Go for a walk? NO.
Go to the mall and spend money? NO.
Phone someone? NO.
Repeatedly comb through my backlog of emails to find something interesting? NO.
Look at my Blog stats? Uggggggg NO. They will probably disappoint me.
Look at article on Medium. Ugggggg NO. Everyone writes better than I can, I’ll just get depressed.
NOTHING. I don’t want to do ANYTHING!
I am likely sitting up in bed. So I slap my computer shut and lie down to go back to sleep.
5 Minutes later, I am up again … don’t need to sleep, can’t sleep, don’t WANT to sleep.
I know … I’ll go to the kitchen and make something that is NOT good for me.
Hmmm. That didn’t work. I’m still here in bed, it’s nice and warm here.
OK, it is decided. Today is officially a NOTHING DAY.
I am now giving myself permission to do NOTHING. Maybe just stare at the wall.
PERFECT, even though the wall could use a paint job.
BING! An Idea.
AKKK! It’s actually a GOOD idea so …
I open my computer back up. Launch Microsoft OneNote where I have an extensive list of ideas and add my new idea.
Maybe I should just make a new notes about the idea so I don’t lose the essence of what this is about.
OH MY GOD.
The article is almost finished. How did THAT happen!
This article is a result of a NOTHING day that turned into a MAGIC day.
Now I can get back to doing NOTHING.
Hummm … I just need to do this one little thing first.
And magically my ugggggg I don’t want to do anything day disappears.
It’s only taken me a decade to learn to SURRENDER to the NOTHING days. The more I fight it, the worse it gets. I not only get nothing done, but I hate myself for it.
When I surrender and allow myself to do NOTHING I often find myself having the most productive day of the week.
BUT … I also have nothing days in which I just sit and meditate (staring at the needs to be painted wall). The meditation may segue into a trashy novel or a video. Sometimes the videos are just entertainment. Sometimes I watch another module in one of my online video courses and actually learn something.
Sometimes the NOTHING days are just NOTHING days. Obviously I needed a break.
Giving myself PERMISSION is a good thing.
Better than beating myself up about it.
IF you too face “I don’t want to do anything days” here’s what you can do:
Turn on your computer or check the messages on your phone. Does this get you going? If not …
Go back to sleep. Can’t sleep?
Give yourself PERMISSION to have a nothing day.
Stare at the wall until it turns into a meditation. Don’t TRY to meditate because that would be DOING something. Don’t what any of that!
When you can’t stare at the wall anymore … read something that has nothing to do with work watch a video or zone out in front of the TV set.
Indulge a BIT … eat stuff that is bad for you. A pint of bad for you ice cream is good. So are donuts.
Eventually the ON switch may click on …. RUN with it
OR just do NOTHING all day.
Should you worry if your NOTHING DAY turns into more than one day?
Well … if it turns into a week, you should probably take some steps. Do you need a vacation? Take one. Are you on the verge of burnout? Get help. Are you depressed? See a doctor.
IF your nothing day turns into two or three days OK.
Take an honest look at what you’ve been doing for the past month. Are you pushing TOO hard? Do you need to schedule more time off? YES, I am actually suggesting that you schedule NOTHING days. In the not so far distant past, people actually used to take entire weekends off. They might do some chores and shopping but Sunday was a day on which you absolutely did NOT work. We “used” to have LONG weekends. If you, like me don’t know what the heck a weekend is, maybe it is time to rediscover one or two or even more of them a year. Oh hell, get radical, what about one weekend a month?
Ever since I experienced a year of profound, disabling BURNOUT I have been very careful to pay attention to my “I don’t want to do anything days.” Sometimes I just need a bit more time to get into the groove, other times that feeling is a signal to STOP and take a rest … both physically and mentally.
The most important lesson for me was to NOT BEAT MYSELF UP. To not think of myself as lazy or a procrastinator or any label that is guaranteed to make me feel bad.
What do YOU do when you are kicking and screaming, “I don’t want to do anything!”