Doing Nothing

I’m doing nothing. Actually… I’m supposed to be doing nothing because I’m in. In fact I’m doing a hell of a lot.

I’ve spent most of the day in bed drifting in and out of sleep, not eating and sipping stale water. Going up and down the stairs was a bit of a mission, so I’ve kept that to a minimum too. Call this the ultimate pyjama day.

Doing nothing in the hopes of speeding up my recovery.

And I’ve felt guilty all day! I’ve barely spent any time with Dave or the boys and I’ve not done any of the odd jobs I would normally do on a weekend. I just about managed to wash up after dinner. The logical part of me states that to feel guilt about this is foolish; I’m ill and need to rest. But doing nothing has become such a terrible thing that I can hardly stand it.

But the value of doing nothing shouldn’t be over looked. Because – and this is the really interesting thing – I’m not really doing nothing. I’m thinking. I’m planning. I’m organising. I’m recovering. Even if I’m not washing clothes, buying groceries, cleaning up or playing with my boys, my brain is working as hard as ever it was.

Today, despite doing nothing I have decided on a plan of action for SORB. I have flesh out some of the ideas from the critique I received yesterday on short story I plan to enter into a competition in June. I have also made myself feel somewhat better by catching up on sleep and resting my body. Doing nothing is more valuable than I ever realised. Giving myself that time and space, by ignoring all those other things I usually do has made future activities potentially easier.

What about you? Do you find yourself freaking out at the idea of doing nothing? How often do you stop to do exactly that… nothing?

About Ileandra Young

I'm a thirty-*mumbles* year old (purple loving, cheese worshipping) author of fantasy, juggling a pair of beautiful twin boys with my burning desire to make up stories and write them all down. When I get the chance, I play games, listen to music, and in days long past I even ran a radio show. Though I occasionally write non-fiction, my heart lives in fantasy and my debut novel, Silk Over Razor Blades is now available through Amazon along with part two of the trilogy, Walking The Razor's Edge.
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7 Responses to Doing Nothing

  1. Doing nothing is definitely underrated. Working harder in the short term may be a good way to stretch the limit of your capabilities, but those limits do exist.

    When you are near exhaustion working harder just compromises the quality of your work. It’s like being under the influence of alcohol – see this article from last year on Medical News Today

    The way that I cope with tiredness and sickness is to work smarter, not harder.

    When I am stuck, really stuck on something I don’t stare at the problem for hours hoping for an answer, I go and ask someone a question.

    I break my task apart so that I’m not doing the equivalent of pounding on a brick wall with a sledgehammer – instead I’m chipping away at the mortar or using a drill. I’m not going to get results as soon as I would like, but I’m also not going to wear my arm out as quickly.

    And yes, sometimes I spend a few extra hours recovering from that late night when I was furiously typing away.

    We human beings spend a lot of time obsessed with how much time we have, and try to fill our waking day with productivity. Is that dull lethargy on some Fridays the price we pay for overdoing it during the week? Are we being inexorably pushed towards even more impossible timescales? Is it any wonder that sick days are on the rise when work is becoming increasingly more demanding?

    The one thing you can be sure of is that unless you happen to own a time machine cunningly disguised as a DeLorean or a blue police box, you can’t just nip out and get more time. So use what you have wisely – don’t scramble to do tomorrow’s tasks in some hope of getting ahead. You’ll just end up in bed, wondering why that sleep fairy ran you over with a three ton truck. πŸ˜‰


  2. I get antsy when I do nothing. I think about all the editing I need to do, or blog posts that need to be written, or laundry that needs to be done. I very rarely can do NOTHING. It’s too hard.


  3. When I do nothing, I tend to escape into my mind and ponder a niggling story idea. But this isn’t really nothing, is it? Thinking is a very important something.


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