The Goal-Achieving Psychotherapy approach places a great deal of emphasis on being proactive to make good things happen. It is important, however, to recognize that sometimes it pays to do nothing.
I’m not talking about meditation or some other type of formal relaxation, although there is definitely a time for that in the healthy lifestyle. And I’m not talking about watching a mindless movie or TV show while switching channels when you become bored, although there is a time for that too.
I’m talking about finding a nice relaxing place where you can chill out without any agenda – and let your mind take your wherever it takes you.
I’ve found that some of my best ideas for projects at home or work occur under those circumstances – where there is no pressure to produce and there are no negative consequences if you don’t produce. Likewise, I’ve found that process to be rejuvenating and energizing when I’ve interrupted a particularly busy time in order to devote some time to doing nothing. But those are outcomes that weren’t preplanned. Sometimes doing nothing yields nothing – and that’s OK.
The art of doing nothing starts with the acceptance of the fact that that’s what you are doing, and doing nothing is it’s own reward. Once you get good at it and accepting of the process, you may be surprised to find certain payoffs in terms of creative ideas, solutions to problems, and feelings of renewal. But that has to emerge from the process rather than being forced on it – because that’s not doing nothing.
Try to build some non-demanding time into your schedule for doing nothing, but keep one note of caution in mind. Just like so many other good things, doing nothing can be overdone. Your goals are much more likely to be achieved during the times you spend working toward them.