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Silvia España Gil
Silvia España Gil

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The challenge of doing nothing

How hard is it to do nothing, right?

Since I started studying programming, I heard the "you have to rest" advice so much. When I worked as a digital marketing specialist, no one ever told me to rest or anything similar so I found it kinda weird the first time I heard it.

I was doing a bootcamp so I thought that maybe the recommendation was because well...bootcamps are exhausting, but then I kept hearing the same advice everywhere 🤔: here in DEV, social media, work, talks, etc.

And it took me a while to understand the advice. But once you understand it the hard thing is to actually do it.

🎡 The never stopping wheel 🎡

Sometimes it feels like we are on a Ferris wheel 🎡, we do or learn something, and go for another and another and another thing so we just keep riding the wheel.

Never stepping off, never changing rides, we are there just doing, learning, reading, writing, non-stop👩‍💻 .

After some reflection and talking with some colleagues, I've come to the self conclusion that there is a "productivity" speech bombarding💣 .

✨ "10 habits of highly productive people", "7 ways to boost your productivity", "5 tips to become a successful developer", "Career boost tips" etc.✨ 

And on top of all that we have so many social media accounts talking and showing us how to read more, exercise more, eat better, and study on weekends📚 ...

But if you stop for a second and think about it, this is madness.

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Our head is on full spin all the time, overstimulated🤯 . We write and cross long "to-do" lists of things we should be doing but we never stop to enjoy the ride we just took and take a breath.

I've been reading some things and there were a couple of things that took my attention❗. One explained this behavior of neverending doing things with gambling. The feeling of achievement is kinda addictive so we thrive for more.

And if we take that feeling and add it up with the need of being in constant improvement, to be better, to learn more, to do we miss up on other things: friends, family, leisure, etc.

Resting is not a price

Is not like well I did this now I deserve to rest. You should rest because it's ok because it's healthy because there is life beyond work/study/obligations.

You don't need to do something all the time to be valuable.

🐉 Break the wheel 🐉 

In the words of our dragon queen, let's break the wheel!

How many times when you were a kid you thought 💭 I wish I was an adult 💭 and play video games for eight hours straight? Or you wished you had the time to go to that place you have always wanted to know. How many times you have seen that book on the bookshelf wishing to get lost in that world?


Do something that is not "productive". Do something for yourself🫶 , something that allows you to feel that this time is yours and yours only.

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Shape the "do nothing" to whatever you want it to be. Lay down on the sofa with your dog 🐶 ? PERFECT. Go in a hyke? SOUNDS FUN. Play a video game 🎮 ? THAT'S A PLAN! Grab a drink with someone you care about. QUALITY TIME!

Feeling bad about doing something for ourselves is something of the past. Let's reshape the way we think, let's treat ourselves better.

Because if you see a friend burnt out, tired or whatever your advice will probably be, rest, you deserve it. But when it is our time, we are harsh. We forget that we also deserve to rest, we also deserve free time.

So, let's do nothing!

Top comments (1)

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Brian Ng

Thank you for writing this! Taking care of your own mental health as a developer is important now than ever before - I do forget sometimes.

My favourite outdoor activity is camping, the greenery and smell of trees (and nature) are effective for tech detoxification. I still game, but only selective games help - as some are just stress-inducing (like Callisto Protocol lol).