The Art of Doing Nothing

Okay, I know it’s not a real Art.

Alot of people have asked me what I’m going to ‘do’ here in Kyiv. You know, get a job or volunteer. Maybe work remotely. Maybe work for NATO. Do I want to meet up with the policing community here and start up something with them.

I don’t want to do any of that – mostly because I don’t want the contraints on my time. I’m too busy. Doing nothing in particular takes up a surprisingly large amount of my day.

When asked, I recently told someone that I was too busy doing projects to fit in a job. I didn’t actually have any project on the go let alone many. So of course he asked if I’d mind giving details about my projects. Busted!

Now when asked, I’ve gotten in the habit of just being direct and saying what I didn’t really want to say before – nothing. Yes, I want to do nothing. I don’t want to do anything.

Wow, I’m a bum.

Rob sometimes asks me what I did during the day. What!? Was I supposed to have done something? I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it. Well, I’ve tried not to feel guilty about my lack of something concrete. He is crazy busy after all.

I didn’t do much of anything today. I had a leisurely coffee and got Ben off to school. I did domestic chores. Right now I’m making dinner. Earlier, I walked to the grocery store. I met a friend for lunch. I read a bit. I booked a bit of travel and got sidetracked by a new destination. I surfed a bit – damn blogs. I was mindful for a time. I did a bit of finances and corresponded by email. I played with the cat.

I wrote a blog post! And I’m almost finished.

I only procrastinated a bit. I didn’t get everything done today that I wanted. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I’m optimistic I’ll have a tomorrow. I really enjoyed today and want to do more of it.

I may be boring. But I’m not bored.

I recently told Rob that there are not enough hours in the day. And that I know it’s partly because I don’t use my time efficiently. Though I think I was wrong – I’m doing exactly what I want to do. It’s just not maybe what you would choose to do. Or even what I want to say I do. Where’s that last one come from?

Did you know it takes at least three hours to make a pizza from scratch.

I’m curious about your thoughts on where that pressure of constant productivity comes from. Or like me, maybe just the guilt that comes from the awareness that I should have it?

Thanks for reading and warm thoughts from Kyiv!
Colleen

P.S. I started a six months update post today. And (almost) finished it. Though clearly I got side-tracked with this one.

I still need to add photos to that last one but I can hear the fan on my (not-ancient?) desktop whirring away. It’s only a 2011 and there are no more updates to the operating system!? So this post will have to do.

I just need to find a header image. Gah!

10 Replies to “The Art of Doing Nothing”

  1. Val’s partner here (Don). I’ve started early retirement (3 days per week). Thank you for writing my thoughts. Looking forward to full time bum status in near future. 🙂

    1. Hello Don!
      It is so great to hear from you. And wow, I miss Val. And not just because she’s so damn good!
      Congratulations on your early retirement. How long have you had this affliction for? When does it escalate to full blown?
      It’s nice to know a fellow bum.

      1. Val says hi! I started the early retirement transition in October…and immediately thought “oh my god, this is great!” . I can stay up until next year, but probably won’t because I am really enjoying doing nothing and would like to increase doing nothing! I am making more meals (better meals that take hours), so Val is benefiting. The dog is getting super long walks. Looking forward very much to garden time this spring. 🙂

        1. Yes! So cool.
          Hi back to Val.
          We don’t have an outdoor space here. A few balconies with windows. But I’d trade our great view for a garden right about now. Especially for yours off the kitchen.
          How about the kids? Abbie can’t be old enough to be out of the nest!?

          1. The kids are good. Yes, Abby is in second year university…yikes!

            I could write so much on the “work ethic”…a boon, but needs to be moderated or life can pass you by. In my first profession, toxicology, we had an expression: “the dose makes the poison”. Applies to so much, including work.

        2. Jealous! Yes that is what came to mind when I read your post. I think nothing to do about nothing sounds like a dream.
          You did a few things but I won’t hold against you, like walking to the store, reading, chores and not to mention cooking a pizza from scratch. It must have fun watching the dough rise. Did you play time in a bottle? Amazing what you got done.

          What did I do …went to work, cooked dinner, read and went to bed. Now ,that is boring.

  2. Ha!
    I totally get it. I used to be one of those incredibly people when I worked, now as full-time travellers there’s less structure and it just seems time gets lost. Which is ok sometimes, you’re allowed to relax 🙂 But sometimes it feels frustrating and you can feel time gets lost.
    That’s when I do what I used to do when working: set a plan of things to do for the next day. It makes you focus on what has to be done and makes you schedule your time. Sometimes I’ll do that when I feel I’ve been procrastinating about certain things…gets me back on track.
    But otherwise nothing wrong with just taking it easy either. Been watching Blind Love on Netflix which is a lot more fun than filing GST/QST returns ever was…

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