The Art of Doing Nothing

By Kater Leatherman 

          I’ve decided that taking time to do nothing is the new cool thing for three very good reasons.  

          First, technology is driving us to distraction, a mild word to describe its impact on us.  Second, most of us are sick and tired of having to cram more into our already busy lives. And third, there’s all the stress that surrounds us every day, notwithstanding the stuff we inflict on ourselves.            

          Perhaps it’s time to take a break, get off the treadmill and lighten your load.  You can drop the guilt; nothing on your “to do” list is worth it.  Forget about an agenda or goal. Doing nothing doesn’t require one.  And, let go of the notion that it is a waste of time because even for an interval, it comes with juicy benefits. Like connecting to your lovable, authentic self.

          If the thought of this feels strange, start by doing little nothings, even if it’s for five minutes. You want to experience the benefits so that it will begin to pull you by the hair when you forget to stop and do nothing.  Just be relaxed and present without distractions.  You can even allow your mind the freedom to wander as long as it doesn’t cause you stress.  

          While this sounds simple in theory, the reality is much harder.  We’re so accustomed to multitasking that doing nothing can make us feel sad, unproductive, guilty and/or bored.  So be patient.  At the very least, doing nothing will give you a sense of having more time.

         Here are six ways to help you reclaim and enjoy the almost lost art of doing nothing:   

          1. Doing nothing includes “no things,” so avoid using a screen, i.e., computer, television or iPhone.

          2.  Sit quietly in nature.  Just appreciate its majesty while you breathe and listen to the sounds.  

          3.  Practice doing nothing while you are waiting in line at the doctor’s office, on a bus or for a plane.  Just observe what you see.

          4.  Get a massage, which allows you the gift to receive.  Avoid talking to the masseuse/masseur, which requires effort. 

          5. Napping is very nurturing to the body, mind and soul.  

          6. Practice spending time in silence.         

Kater Leatherman is a home stager and professional organizer.  She teaches yoga at Ridgely Retreat in West Annapolis.  Her book, MOVING ON:  One Woman’s Quest to Create  S P A C E  for Change, can be purchased at



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