Sometimes all you have to do is… Nothing

Creativity calls for dead time

You know yourself as a driven person. You have had that dream for a very long time and know how to do things to make it happen. But then, that day comes. The day when you just want to do nothing.

Most people would just say to push through it, to be disciplined. But that’s not the only way. You can also give in and be useless. You just have to make sure you don’t make it a habit.

If you have no dedicated free time, you run into the risk of procrastinating a lot. Sure, in the beginning, you are hyped and motivated. But after a couple of weeks of constant work, you will get tired.

Most people think you can’t get burnout if you do things you like. Well, I think you need to really listen to yourself. How do you feel? Do you feel tired? Do you feel exhausted?

You don’t need to be too hard on yourself. In the end, you can still do the things you have set. If you don’t have good systems or habits, implement them.

When all else fails, systems are the things that keep stuff going. So invest your initial motivation in creating good systems; systems that make you succeed.

It’s easy to ignore systems in the beginning. You are just figuring things out, you don’t need a structure. But as soon as the motivation fades, you will get right into procrastination if you don’t have any system.

In order to be consistent, you need systems. In order to be successful, you need to be consistent. That means that you need systems in order to be successful.

But what are systems made of?

A system is basically a habit. That means there has to be a trigger and an action.

The trigger is usually the schedule. You put a deadline, or a date, or an hour, and when that date comes, something happens.

The schedule can also recur (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly).

It’s pretty important to make the action as small as possible, so you don’t feel the need to skip it when the time comes.

Most of the new year’s resolutions fail because people make them too big or add too many changes into their life.

That’s not how this works.

Do you want to exercise daily?

Set an hour, set a memento/reminder/alarm, and set a target. 

How can you make the target small and achievable?

What is the smallest thing you can reliably do with as little willpower as possible? 5 push-ups? Okay, that’s the target.

In time you can ramp that up, you can ramp that down, but the schedule is sacred.

As soon as you miss your schedule, you are telling your brain that it’s not that important and you will start missing more of your schedule.

If you miss one, think about what happened. Was the target too big? Was the hour bad? Did you forget to reserve the time for it?

Yes, make a big deal out of missing your schedule. The target is not that important; the schedule is.

And now let’s get back to the topic from the title.

The same way you schedule a time for the stuff you want to do, the same way you should reserve your time off.

You can be as awesome as you can be, you still need some time off. If not for your mental health, then for your creativity levels. You need dead time to let your ideas fly.

If you are always busy with something you have scheduled, you limit your creativity.

Practice:

  1. Choose the day of the week when you plan on doing nothing.

  2. Reserve the time on that day when you plan on doing nothing. (8 hours or more)

  3. Define what nothing means for you (take a walk, sit in bed listening to music, stare at the walls).