Last year I had a one-week shutdown.
And I want to share my experience what I learned from “Doing Nothing”.
I’m a digital marketing professional and a freelance content creator, so my work doesn’t allow me to stay away from digital channels (or I can say distractions) like social media, email, Internet, and phone. I have to available on these channels most of my time.
But recently I had minor surgery and my doctor advised me to take rest. But she said that I can use laptop and mobile.
But I decided to be “non-accessible” for 7-days. I decided not to give control of my attention something else other than myself.
And my 7-days doing nothing strategy started. I disconnected my Internet connection and switched off my phone.
I didn’t use social media.
I didn’t check emails.
I didn’t do any text or call (my friends and family got mad at me because they couldn’t reach me).
I didn’t even read newspapers or books (As I’m an avid reader).
I didn’t write anything.
In short, I did NOTHING and I didn’t consume anything.
Honestly, it sucked in the beginning, but anything worth doing deserves it.
Learning doesn’t come easy.
The scariest thing for our generation is — making a decision and committing fully to it.
But not making a decision is even scarier.
And I made a decision and I had to stick to it.
Here’s what I learned from “doing nothing” or “recharge myself” strategy:
It allowed me to think clearly and deeply
The most important lesson I learned is:
Constantly checking emails and let our attention control by social media and apps come at great cost — Less productivity and Less clear thoughts.
In the corporate sector, we believe that if you are doing multitasking or if you seem busy, then you’re a productive employee.
But let me tell you one harsh truth…
Busyness or multitasking nothing to do with productivity. For real!
As Cal Newport stated in his book, “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success In a Distracted World”,
“In the absence of clear indicators of what it means to be productive and valuable in their jobs, many knowledge workers turn back toward an industrial indicator of productivity: doing lots of stuff in a visible manner.”
We think that glancing at emails, social media or phone only takes a few seconds and it’s a good way to take a short break.
But the truth is: These distractions waste far more time than we think. We lose our attention and it weakens our ability to think deeply.
Thankfully, this “7-days shut down” helped me to set my vision and flowing of thoughts more clearly in my mind.
The best part?
I don’t need to worry about new trends, news, and any other so-called knowledge.
I got a clear idea for my questions like:
What do I really want?
Where should I direct my attention?
How do I get the quality of work I want to do?
And I didn’t allow my mind to be distracted or wander. I eliminated all the possible distraction during the cleaning process.
Ryan Holiday put it best:
“This is a fundamental irony of most people’s lives. They don’t quite know what they want to do with their lives. Yet they are very active.”
It taught me to embrace the boredom
In this fast pace world and informational age, we don’t want to get bored and we bore easily.
We can’t live without our smartphones (even sleep with our phones next to us).
If there is a moment of pause or we have to wait in a line, we immediately take out our phones and start browsing or texting. We want to be “on” all the time.
Honestly, the first day I also got bored, but I embrace this boredom. When we turn off our distractions, we get bored.
And I think deep work or productivity can’t possible without embracing boredom.
I had enough time to see the beauty of nature. I used to see trees closely for hours and it felt like one tree pass some message or signal to another through the wind (you might think I’m crazy).
But these activities open my mind. This time allowed me to connect my deep “whys” that I forgot during the years.
And I decided for the next one month, devote 60-minutes shut down.
Because clarity leads to motivation and motivation leads to productivity.
And if you’re a full-time professional, a businessman or a student, I highly recommend you to take some time for yourself in the morning or after work (without any distractions).
It will help you to be more productive.
Always remember your best investment is YOU (it’s a better investment than Bitcoin).
This article was originally published on My Medium Blog.