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Thomas C. Haflich
Thomas C. Haflich

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Challenge: do nothing

Cover photo by Guillaume de Germain via Unsplash.

Do you ever feel like you're too busy, but at the same time, you're never doing enough?

If you feel absolutely none of that, you won't get much out of this. Take the next few minutes off or something ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But for me and many of my colleagues, we're always pushed to do more. Sometimes it's a boss, sometimes it's our own inner monologue making us nervous when we aren't doing something productive.

So your challenge today is to sit still and do nothing for one minute, and examine your thoughts before, during, and after the process.

Here is a one minute timer.

It's just one minute. Should be easy, right? You can spare one tiny minute.

For this challenge, you are allowed to keep your eyes open or closed, fidget, etc, but you aren't allowed to do or think-hard-about anything "productive" during this one minute. Also no netflix or youtube or whatever other distractions, you tricksy engineers. Try to not watch the timer. (This isn't a meditation, so don't worry about your thoughts or breath or anything; this is an exercise about focus of action rather than focus of thought.)

Ready... set... go!

An hourglass
Photo by Aron Visuals via Unsplash.

Okay, everybody back?

If you're anything like me, that minute of doing nothing was an eternity. I had become so used to pushing myself to 100% capacity, every moment of every day, that I had no time for anything but the grind. Taking time off for anything that wasn't "productive" was seen as a waste of time and money. Self-care wasn't even on the list of priorities.

But ask yourself, if this resonates with you:

  • Can I keep up this pace for the next year? For the next five years? For the rest of my working years? Until I die?
  • What is my goal? What am I working towards? Is working at a breakneck pace actually getting me closer to what I truly want?
  • Am I actually really doing something, or am I just keeping busy?
  • Will you ever truly reach the "someday" you're hoping for, doing what you're currently doing?

You don't need to be obsessed with busyness and the #hustle. You can take one minute to reflect. It's just one minute, right?

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