How To Do Nothing (Guilt-Free)

Mitch JoelPosted by

We don’t have to always be on a screen.

We don’t have to always be worried (about everything).
Remember daydreaming?
Remember being bored?
Remember having a hobby without turning it into a side-hustle?
This is where we (may) have lost our path.
This is where we (may) not be helping our children.

We need more ways to do nothing.

There are ways to do nothing (oh, the irony).

Here are some ways to do nothing:

  • Don’t set the alarm.
  • Take a walk for no reason (and with no destination).
  • Go for a drive.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Walk in nature (if you can).
  • Walk someone else’s dog (if you don’t have one of your own).
  • Read something unrelated to anything (try this: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert).
  • Read something funny (try this: Calypso by David Sedaris).
  • Make lists of weird things (Top 10 Places I’d Never Like To Visit).
  • Watch strangers (just don’t let them catch you… weirdo).
  • Take notes in a notebook (weird things people say and do). Get some Field Notes.
  • Stare out of the window.
  • Close your eyes. Breath. Focus on your breath.
  • Doodle.
  • Learn to play the guitar (bass guitar is better).
  • Write poetry (in that notebook).
  • Make coffee. Sip it. Stare at nothing. Tea works fine too.
  • Make your shower five minutes longer and a little warmer (or colder) than usual (apologies to the environmentalists).
  • Talk to elderly people (ask them how they first fell in love… what they most regret… do they have a lost love…).
  • Make a fanzine (Austin Kleon can help).
  • Watch a documentary about a topic you never considered (try this: Helvetica).
  • Start reading comic books.
  • Start using pens and pencils more.
  • Start collecting notebooks (Field Notes, Moleskine, etc…).
  • Notice typography.
  • Look through art books (don’t read them).
  • Think about someone that you know who is going through something much worse than you are. Sit in that for a while. Really feel it. 
  • Send a note (handwritten… email is fine to) to someone from high school that you haven’t seen (but miss).
  • Close your eyes and just listen to the quiet of the earth. 
  • Listen to jazz music (no vocals) (try this: Bill Evans – Coffee and Cigarettes).
  • Listen to classical music.
  • Sit in the park and watch the kids play (don’t be a creep).
  • Do your morning pages (Julie Cameron can help).

Remember that not everything has to be productive.

Remember that not everything has to be about improving your current situation.
Remember that dreaming is good. Even in dark times.
Remember that the clouds may be dark (and there may be many clouds), but there is always blue sky just a little bit further up from those clouds.
Focus on nothing.

See, there’s plenty to do when you do nothing.