I’m gonna be honest with you: I’m a bit of a workaholic.
Really, it’s easy to get sucked into a project when you love what you do.
I can spend hours working on my writing, trying to polish my stories or hammering out new chapters, or prepping for some new series to work on.
Even over the winter holidays, I planned to get no writing done. This should have been me:
I still ended up doing some work pretty much every one of the days I should have been taking a “vacation”.
It’s just the way my brain is wired. I’m happiest when I’m pushing toward completing a chapter, book, or series.
But I might be doing myself a disservice…
I stumbled across an article on Psychology Today talking about the importance of doing nothing, and it felt like it was aimed directly at me.
The entire concept of this article was about how our modern mindset of always having to do more, be more, and strive for perfection and excellence is causing more stress and anxiety than ever before. When we get to the point that we’re using our leisure time on work, we’re doing the wrong thing.
Oops. That’s definitely me.
I get sucked into my work because I love it, but there’s also the part of my brain that is anxious about the future and stressed when I feel I’m not doing as much as I could or should be. That’s caused me to lose sleep, skip exercise, sacrifice time with my family, and even impair my own health.
The article shared this passage by the ancient Chinese sage Lao Tzu:
Thirty spokes at the single hub;
It is the empty space which makes the wheel useful.
Mold clay to form a bowl;
It is the empty space which makes the bowl useful.
Cut out windows and doors;
It is the empty space which makes the room useful.
So one of my goals for 2021, along with all the massive productivity and making progress on the Hero of Darkness series, is to do more of nothing.
I’m not going to waste time, but I will be more permissive of my exhaustion, stress, or lack of inspiration. If there are days when I just can’t push myself any harder, I’ll forgive myself for being weak.
On the days when I should be taking time off, I’m going to do just that. I’ll enjoy the time when I’m doing nothing and not always be fretting about how much I could be doing with that time.
I believe, truly, that I will be significantly happier—and a much better writer, husband, and father—for it!
Your Turn: Do You Struggle With Doing Nothing?
Are you like me, and always feeling like you should be doing something? Do you have a hard time relaxing if there is work left undone, or if you feel like you didn’t put in a full day’s work?
Drop a comment below and let me know how you a) struggle with this same thing I do, and b) how you cope with it or push past it?