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The joy of doing nothing
The joy of doing nothing

by Prunella de Pedant

Headphones on, the mobile telephone rings, text messages buzz in, emails pile up, television or YouTube blaring,  notifications of Skype are going mad - such are the sounds of modern life.

It’s all a bit too much, really. Media and sensory overload, being busy busy busy; it’s no wonder so many of us walk around looking utterly exhausted.

How about the concept of doing absolutely nothing? And by nothing, I mean turning the music off, stepping away from the computer, and putting all of your modern gadgetry away.

Ahhhh, isn’t that lovely? I bet you’re feeling better already (of course, after you’ve stepped away from this computer - what are you still doing here? No no, silly - read on for a few ideas and THEN practise the art of doing nothing).

On a recent trip to the Scillies (which were divine, by the way. Thanks very much for asking!), it occurred to me that life DOES continue without mobile telephone reception. Yes, there are glorious landscapes to view, fresh air to take in, coastal walks to be discovered, books to read without any interruption. Pure and utter bliss. If we’re consumed by our modern ways, we might just miss it all - and what a shame that would be.

Of course, one doesn’t have to be in the countryside to enjoy the pleasure of “nothingness”. In fact, it is quite simple to take a digital retreat in an urban setting as well.

Here are a few tips:

1) Leave your mobile telephone, iPad, and computer at home. Yes, at home. Then, step away carefully and revel in the fact that no one can get in touch with you. Exciting!

2) Meet a friend for tea or coffee and discover the pleasures of being on time for your date (without the inanity of sending text messages like “where are you?” and “I am at the corner of x and y”). This will be an ideal time for conversation and catch-up, without the incessant noise of text messages or ringing.

3) How about taking your own fine company to the park or a coffee shop with a book? There’s something lovely about being surrounded by other people frolicking, flying kites, or doing their own reading. Also, take this time for a spot of people watching - a divine analogue activity. But don’t stare because that’s rude!

4) Go for a jog, walk, or ride on your push bike. Leave the headphones at home (safety first, pretty please). You’ll find that without the distraction of music, you’ll be able to have so many thoughts and perhaps spark some new ideas. Most inspirational, not to mention that exercise is good for the body AND the mind.

5) Take a nap. Remember those? We used to take so many as wee ones, it’s very good to grab a bit of shut-eye. By resting one’s eyes, we give ourselves a little chance to slow down and rejuvenate - this is key to productivity too.

These are just a few thoughts, do you have any more to share?

Now, be gone gentlepeople and enjoy - well - doing nothing.

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