Can You Do Nothing?

I tried an experiment this weekend: doing nothing. My time management guru, Mark Forster, wrote an article titled, “In Praise of Doing Nothing,” which I took to heart. I’m working hard on a book on sustaining leadership, and I had taken a satisfying but slightly grueling trip to a conference in Vancouver, BC. The next day, I did a few things and realized how tired I was. This was supposed to be a day “off,” but I still had a long list of things to do. I dumped a few items on relatively willing family members and postponed the rest. The next day I jumped out of bed ready to get back to the book and the still-lengthy to-do list. Mark Forster suggests, “A whole day spent deliberately doing nothing can be a wonderfully re-charging experience.” I agree.

Doing nothing is a spiritual exercise, too. How indispensable are we, really? Can we begin to learn that God can manage the world without us? Try it: one day a year of doing nothing won’t kill you, and you may be surprised at the effect.

2 replies on “Can You Do Nothing?

  • IGalindo

    Heh, is this a koan? I suppose the answer is “no” for to try to “do” nothing is actually doing something, namely, either TRYING to do nothing or actually DOING nothing.

    Thanks for the challenge. For some of us the benefit may be in accepting the challenge of the discipline (with little hope for any success is being able to “do nothing”). I think once I did nothing for about 10 minutes. But then they revived me.


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