Do nothing. Why adding this to your To-Do list could help you get more done

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Here’s something to add to your ever-growing to do list: Do nothing.

Sounds ridiculous, right? But what if this was the one thing that could actually help you get MORE done?

In the 5th chapter of his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of LessGreg McKeown discusses why deliberately scheduling downtime with no phone, email or distractions is the most beneficial thing you can do to boost your productivity.

McKeown’s points:

  • If we are constantly in the grind, our brains don’t have time to process what’s working and what's not working.

  • This impedes our decisions and makes us lose sight of what’s most important in the short and long term.

McKeown is not the first to implement this idea, and references some others doing the same:

  • Conversations, a NYC based marketing company, implements a monthly full-day meeting with no phones, email or agendas designed to help create a distraction-free think-tank environment for employees. Conversations is one the fastest growing private companies in the NYC according to the INC 500.

  • Jeff Weiner, CEO of Linkedin, schedules 2 hours a day of off-agenda time. He deems this his most sacred time and believes it to be at least somewhat responsible for his successful business decisions. Weiner has grown LinkedIn's small staff of 338 to over 11,000 in just 8 years.

You may say, well, that sounds nice but I don’t have time for that!

McKeown suggests that even small doses of scheduled do nothing time can still be beneficial. Set aside 5 minutes in the morning to simply think, or schedule a short break in the afternoon. He does, however, emphasize that this is time that YOU schedule. It’s needs to be an intentional part of the day, not accidental free time or dead time on a commute.

Just 5 minutes. Seems doable...yet, for some reason, slightly intimidating. Who thought doing nothing could be so hard? Well, I'm determined to try. 5 minutes a day. Stay tuned to hear about how my quest to "do nothing" goes!

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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less  By Greg McKeown

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

By Greg McKeown