SELF-IMPROVEMENT

This is why you should Take Time Off to do NOTHING

 

Take time off. Sometimes, a venture into nothing is a leap into greatness .

 

The world we live in today is a fast-paced place; it is almost a sin to be caught napping and, day-dreaming has become likened to laziness. If you are a 9-to-5er, you definitely don’t want your boss to catch you reclining and staring into nothing at work; you always have to stay sharp because you really need to justify every cent the organization is spending on you. Even when you have done your share of the job and (more than) delivered exceptional work before agreed deadline, you need to stay busy.

Today, the focus is no longer on productivity and impact; the society has shifted importance from the relevance of impact to the idea of busy-ness. That is why people are spending much more time at work, but, delivering less and making less impact.

 

Today, the focus is no longer on productivity and impact; the society has shifted importance from the relevance of impact to the idea of busy-ness. That is why people are spending much more time at work, but, delivering less and making less impact

 

As an entrepreneur, the need to stay busy is driven by an even deeper desire to show the world that the decision to venture into entrepreneurship was not made in one eureka moment. Rather, it was a well-thought-out decision. In a bid to convince yourself (and the world) that, you are serious about being doing your own thing, it’s very easy to veer off the clear-cut road of reasonable priorities into the wilderness of unprofitable ‘busy-ness’.

 

In a bid to convince yourself (and the world) that you are serious about being doing your own thing, it’s very easy to veer off the clear-cut road of reasonable priorities into the wilderness of unprofitable ‘busy-ness’.

 

If you could take stock of your day, could you proudly say that everything you invested time in was worth the trouble, time and effort? Before you roll your eyes at the idea of being ’idle’, ask yourself why a billionaire like Bill Gates would take time off for a Think Week. It’s easy to argue that he can afford the think week because he has a money-making mechanism running perfectly that would earn by-the-second whether he’s working or not. However, I can tell you that some amazing ideas get the needed fertile soil to sprout when the mind is free and the rate of clarity is high. 

 

Why Should You Take Time Off?

Here’s what happens when you take time off:

  1. Your mind is clearer and sharper – Better Thought Processes

Nothing beats thinking with a clear mind. It is easy to focus, make plans and think when the mind is not clogged. Productivity is also higher due to the minimalism of required daily tasks (planning will be the only major task and it will be done at a certain set time of the day). 

  1. You set goals/check if old goals have been achieved – Better Planning

Goals are easy to set but hard to follow-up. even when you have plans cast in stone, chances are high that something might happen and trip it all up or an event might force you to modify, upgrade, downgrade or forget about your plan. 

 

  1. You evaluate your activities – Better Time Management

This helps you know the activities to keep and activities to do away with. When you take time off to stock of your daily routine, you will be able to see how your time is being spent. The time-out will help you identify your priorities and reward you with better time management

 

  1. You are able to restrategise – Better Decision Making

When you carefully check your goals and weigh your current options and resources, you can easily tell whether to stick to the original idea or tweak the plan to fit current trends and circumstances.

 

  1. You make better decisions – Higher Productivity

Better decisions translates to higher productivity, better performance, better results and a higher sense of self-fulfillment

 

NOTE

I usually would not advise that you give yourself an hour or two off every day because it might not be as productive as giving yourself a day off every week or, a week off every year (which is even better). Chances are high that the onslaught of work and tasks waiting for you as soon as you open your eyes in the morning will muddle up your mind or the stress of the day will cause you to doze off if you decide to do it in the evening. Moreover, you would want to relax, put your legs up, watch your favorite shows/series and catch up with the rest of the world (if you are not a sleeper like me) and the only time you get for that is after work.

 

How Do You Take Time Off?

Embrace nature

By ‘time-off, I am not talking about staying at an hotel where the TV remote is within reach and family and friends are only a stone throw away. You could go on a hiking trail, go camping, rent a cabin in the woods… just find a place that is closest to nature and farthest from the mental hustle and bustle your mind is attuned to. Nature has a way of rewarding us by opening up our minds to unseen possibilities

 

Ditch your phone

If you really want to take time off to think and re-prioritize, your phone is that secret enemy that will sabotage your efforts.

We have been brainwashed into thinking that our lives will never be the same without our phones but for those that lived in the pre-phone era, have you ever wondered how you functioned perfectly without a phone? If you were born into the phone generation, you may think that life would fall apart at the seams if you don’t check your phone every hour but it’s all just a lie that is hard-wired into your brain. You’ll be fine without it and if you must have it during your time off. Check it for just 30 minutes morning, noon and night and return/reply only the absolutely important (life-threatening) calls/emails.

 

Have a pen and notebook handy

Think of this as a retreat. While you want to clear your mind and leave the mental burden of work behind, you also do not want to lose the good ideas when they pop up. Ideas might be about a new product, new service, new method to work, new work tool… anything. Write it down as it comes and save all for later. When you get back to your everyday life, share it with the right people. This way, you’ll be able to brainstorm the ideas with people that can give you sound advice on next steps.

 

It’s okay to float

During your ‘time-out’, it’s okay to tune everything out of your mind and just float. Letting the mind laze around and wander is a good way of stumbling upon ideas you would never have gotten from hours of brainstorming. You need to deliberately make time for this; gaze at the stars, kick pebbles on the beach, build a sand castle, watch ducks, listen to the chirping of birds, pick flowers…be a child and enjoy the simple, (seemingly mundane) things of life. Do you know why children come up with the, weirdest, most amazing and most interesting ideas? Because, they have little to think/worry about and they give their minds the freedom to roam. The key to achieving this is to let your inner child roam free.

 

Letting the mind laze around and wander is a good way of stumbling upon ideas you would never have gotten from hours of brainstorming

 

MORALE OF THE STORY

Take time off.

 

 

Image credit: Aaron Burden|Unsplash

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