Posts

The Power of Doing Nothing

___

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

___

You’ve got work to-do lists, home to-do lists, personal to-do lists, returning-to-the-office to-do lists – the list of lists goes on and on. But how often is doing nothing on your to-do list?

It might seem counterintuitive, but adding nothing to your to-do list can help you become more productive.

On the most recent episode on my live-streaming show Inside Scoop, I spoke with Pandit Dasa, author of Closing the Apps in Your Mind and Urban Monk, mindfulness leadership expert, CEO, and former NYC monk  – who offered his insight on how doing nothing can help you accomplish everything.

1) Closing the apps in your mind.

This is more than just the title of Pandit’s book – closing the apps in your mind is a metaphor for why meditation is so important. When too many apps are open on your smart device it clutters the machine, slows down its functions, and drains the battery.

And your brain works the same way.

Taking time to breathe and do nothing increases your awareness of your own thoughts, which can help you let negative or unhelpful thoughts pass without judgement.

2) How closing out your apps helps you.

But why is noticing your thoughts and letting them pass so important? Pandit brings up a Psychology Today article which says we have thousands of thoughts in a day and all of them impact us whether we realize it or not. He goes on to say, every three or four seconds our mind opens a new thought tab, and even though we don’t remember all the thoughts, “it still exhausts us.”

Ever find yourself having an imaginary fight or preparing for a situation that might not even happen? Or worrying about something that happened in the past for a little too long? Only to realize you’ve lost a chunk of your day accidentally? That’s what happens when all your apps are open.

It’s easy to get distracted and sucked into a thought without realizing, the same way you can fall into an internet rabbit hole. And that really cuts into your productivity and stress levels, throwing your whole day off.

Pandit explained it perfectly, “A calm mind is a great foundation on which the rest of the day can be built.” And a calm mind makes for a healthier and happier mind and life. Taking the time to exist in the quiet, hear your thoughts, and let them pass, can help you stay focused in the present moment, increase your creativity, productivity, and decrease your stress and irritability.

3) Preparing to do nothing.

It’s easier to talk about meditation than to do it. Pandit recommends putting “yourself on the calendar.” Adding meditation to your to-do list is one of the best ways to ensure you do it (and don’t open more apps on your phone – or in your mind.)

And don’t worry, you don’t need to clear two hours every morning the way Pandit did during his days at the monastery when he was a monk. You just need to find a few minutes at a time that’s convenient for you. For some people first thing in the morning, for some before bed, and for others it’s the middle of the day. I like to meditate in the morning or else I find that I never get to it.

As Pandit reminds me, the most important part of meditation is doing it – not how long or what time you do it. Adding that if we don’t put ourselves on the calendar, “if we don’t prepare to do nothing, we’ll end up doing something, while we’re doing nothing.”

4) Is there a best way to do nothing?

There is no best way to meditate. Pandit suggests trying different ways and sticking with the method that works best for you. You can try taking a walk outside alone or with your pet, closing your eyes and paying attention to your breath before a big meeting, using apps like Calm, or simply putting your device away and looking out the window while eating lunch.

Don’t worry if you don’t feel the difference right away. Meditation is a practice – so it takes time and continuous practice to start noticing the effects. As long as your device is away, you’re focused on your breath. If, like Pandit, you ask your thoughts to “please stay in the waiting room” of your mind for a few minutes, you’re on the right track.

And if you’re not sure how to clear the time for meditation, check out my LinkedIn Learning course, How to Set Boundaries and Protect Your Time, which includes tips on how to prioritize your needs throughout the day.

It may feel a little strange to do at first, but a little bit of “nothing” can go a long way towards increasing your productivity and happiness. And who doesn’t want that?

You can check out our full conversation and kick start your meditation practice with a meditation led by Pandit here!

___

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

___

Smarter Work-From-Home Eating

___

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

___

Picture this: it’s 11 a.m. and you’re feeling a little grumbly after an early breakfast. You’re working from home, so you wander into the kitchen and eat a handful of chips.

You make a quick and boring sandwich for lunch. An hour later, you’re hungry again, and you snack on some candy this time. Dinnertime rolls around, and you’re too tired to cook.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. 

Read more

Tools to Be More Productive Working Remotely

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

Since I started working for myself as a media strategist, author and speaker, a few years ago, I’ve become an expert at working from home. I really love it actually. 

But I know all about how hard it can be to adjust to remote work when you’re used to an office environment and being around people all day long. 

Many more employees are working remotely now because of coronavirus (COVID-19) — and if you’re one of them, you might have run into new challenges with keeping up your motivation and productivity. 

Read more

How to Hygge: A Lesson in Self Care

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

I love rules.

Clear cut, simply defined rules.

I also love a good mantra. You know a few words to remind you of your goal or purpose.

These two things are most perfectly combined in Marie Kondo’s idea of realizing if an item in your home sparks joy for you.

It’s a simple yes/no question that evokes an emotional response.

I’m doing research for my new book, Listful Living: A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You, and I came across the idea of hygge, which I quickly became obsessed with. I first heard of it from my media-training client Melissa Coleman, who is the author of The Minimalist Kitchen.

What is Hygge?

It’s a Danish word pronounced “hoo-ga,” which is broadly defined as a feeling of cozy contentment. Read more

The Summer of Me

By now I’m sure your social media streams are flooded with kids going to camp photos and all the fabulous vacation snapshots from Italy and other fabulous locations. Mine sure has.

As much as I love planning and scheduling, even I find the big push to make the most of your summer a little tiring. I read an article recently that really summed up my feelings on the issue. Kristin Hewitt, a sports reporter and blogger, announced that her family would being ‘doing nothing’ for the summer. She explains that rather than scheduling every free moment of her children’s lives, the summer would be better spent getting in some R&R and letting the kids decide what they wanted to do. Read more