The right balance - Deepstash

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To make laziness work for you, put some effort into it - Neel Burton | Aeon Ideas

The right balance

We dream of being idle but simultaneously feel that we want to do something.

Strategic idleness is an art and difficult to manage. We fear boredom that might come with idleness. Boredom points to the meaninglessness of life and provokes uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that we would like to avoid. We would rather fill that void with being busy. Yet, we would be in a better place if we spend some time doing nothing.

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Niksen
Niksen

Whenever you feel stressed and on the edge of a burnout, you might as well try doing...well, nothing. 

Niksen is a term used to describe the fact of doing nothing, of taking a break from all our daily tasks, in order to relax and gain our energy back.

Idleness and its benefits

If you have any doubts in what the multiple benefits that idleness can provide you with, just note down the fact that being lazy from time to time leads to increased creativity, productivity as well as developing problem-solving skills, as it allows you to take time to see the things more clearly.

Tips to make Niksen effective

In order to keep your effectiveness high while doing nothing, you might want to consider the following tips: 

  • Find the good moments to take breaks throughout your day, in order to later be more productive.
  • Own the very fact of doing nothing.
  • Take your time getting used to doing nothing.
  • Adjust your environment so that it favors Niksen.
  • Get bored in original ways. All in all, figure out what works for you and make sure you do nothing once in a while, as it is so beneficial for your health.
Effort as Energy Expenditure
Effort as Energy Expenditure

Effort represents an investment of a fixed resource, like calories.

For this reason, running takes more effort than sitting. It takes more calories and strains muscles and joints. If you run non-stop, you will need to eat more to stay alive, and you will wear your muscles out.

However, effort as energy expenditure does not fully answer why we struggle to take action, as effortful tasks, such as playing tennis, is more fun than doing nothing.

Effort as Attention

Paying attention seems to be linked to effort, since deliberate control of attention take effort.

Focus is only hard if we're trying to focus. If our attention is held automatically, focus is not an effort.

Effort as the Opposite of Habit

Effort could be seen as the opposite of something we do automatically. Effort then is what happens when we try to override an automatic pattern.

Benefits of taking time off

People who create a proper work-life balance experience less work-related fatigue, lower rates of procrastination, and even better mental and physical health.

Time away from work improves problem-solving skills and improves creativity.

Taking time off
It may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to get the most from a day off and feel rested and restored for coming back to work is to do more with your time, not less.

Binge-watching TV can make you feel more anxious, stressed, and impact your sleep.

Do nothing (on purpose)

Purposeful idleness is no small task. A few tips:

  • Start with small sessions and take the time to build up your endurance.
  • To help you do nothing, keep your devices out of reach (or out of the room) and re-orient your furniture away from the TV and out a window.
  • Try open-ended toys or games like kinetic sand that promote idleness.