Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I know every teenager has used the expression "Nothing" when asked what they are doing, at least once.
Doing nothing is actually incredible. It is the most simple way to relax. Sure, doing nothing can waste time, but it doesn't have to. It's an art. Actually, doing nothing helps you be more productive.
First, focus on 5 minutes. Preferably every day, maybe a couple times a day. Practice in a safe place: a bedroom, a man-cave, or even a living room. Cut out all distractions. Turn off the radio, your phone, an mp3 player, everything. And do NOT turn that television on! It helps me to be laying down, or sitting reclined. Close your eyes, and do nothing.
Don't forget this! Breathing is the best place to start when doing nothing. Breathe slowly, and feel your breath. In through the nose, out through the nose. Notice your lungs filling and emptying. Feel the breath in your body. Don't think about anything. Just breathing. Just relaxing. Just nothing.
Work up to 20 minutes, or even half an hour. Doing nothing every day helps clear your mind, and frees your attention. If you need to schedule your do nothing time, then by all means do so. Doing nothing gives you more time to focus on the task at hand.
You will become relaxed, and ready to let the day flow with ease.
My favorite blog, Zen Habits, did a blog on goal setting. I liked it so much, I started applying it to everything.
I have achieved many goals using Zen Habit's system, but modified it for myself, and still keeping it simple.
1. Brainstorm. List everything you would like to achieve. Don't forget anything. Write it all down.
2. Figure out all the benefits. Take a look at your list. Figure out which ones are most beneficial and which ones will change your life most.
3. Keep it SMART. This little acronym, from the Boy Scouts of America, is incredibly useful to determine goals.
- Specific: Know what your goal is. Run a marathon, exercise more, or get straight A's. Name your goal with 2-5 words or even less. Having a short little saying for your goal will help you stay on track.
- Measurable: Be able to measure the goal. Know how much is needed to complete it, and what it will take. Is it a large, long term goal, or a small one?
- Attainable: Is it possible? Make sure you don't need to complete another goal before you start this one. Can you achieve this goal realistically?
- Relevant: Do you want this? IF you hate running, don't set a goal to run a marathon. Determine whether this goal is relevant to you, your life, and what you want.
- Timely: Work on a goal that will fit in with what you have time to do. Estimate when you will start and finish. Will it take a year? Six months? How about a week?
4. Prioritize. Make this goal a priority. Put effort into accomplishing your goal. Purpose your day so that you are doing at least one thing towards it a day. Do it in baby steps.
Focus on one goal at a time. It is less stressful knowing that you are working on one thing instead of three or four. Also, doing this creates a habit out of working on that goal. Once it turns into a habit, you can start working on another goal. You won't need to worry about your first goal, you formed a habit. It's now automatic and you can let your mind think about other things.