Last week I finished my 13-month contract and I have two and a half months until I look for my next piece of work. It was a deliberate decision to take the time off to relax and travel through Europe. I have two weeks before I fly out and what am I doing with my time?

Nothing.

Not a lot that would be considered “busy” or “productive” in our definition of busy or productive.

I moved cities in New Zealand from Wellington to Auckland, so I am trying to find my feet in a big city that I haven’t lived in for almost five years. On Monday (my first day of leisure) I spent 10 hours driving from Wellington to Auckland so I was “busy” and tired!!

Tuesday – day one of no work and I spent the first half of the day feeling bad that I wasn’t busy. Felt bad that I wasn’t doing anything productive. I filled my time taking the dog (Duke) for a run, stopping for coffee at a café, took Duke to the beach, got a bit of a tan on, unpacked my life (and apparently took up too much space in the wardrobe :P) and then finally, I just sat on the couch and relaxed. I napped. It was wonderful. Duke napped too. It was the best.

Our housemate came home; I was sitting on the couch, I didn’t feel so bad. Two hours later he got home from training, I just woke up from a nap, then I felt a little bad. My partner came home; I was still sitting on the couch.

I told him how bad I felt not having done much today. That I had been unproductive, not contributing to anything, that I should be busier.

All he kept saying – “just relax!”

He kept asking –

  • What is so urgent that you need to do that you can’t just enjoy having time to do nothing?
  • Why do you have to be productive?
  • Why do you have to do anything?
  • Just relax and stop doing stuff

During my last contract I hardly took any time off because I was saving leave and saving money to travel. It was more important to me to save those things than to take time out during a short contract. I worked my a** off to be able to enjoy two and a half months off and on day one I seem to think I didn’t deserve to do just that. Nothing.

We get caught up in the trap of being busy. We have created this illusion that being “busy” means that we are productive. That being “busy” means that we are contributing to a happier and more meaningful life.

To be honest – being “busy” doing stuff that doesn’t bring you joy and happiness is a waste of your precious time that you will never get back.

Choose to be busy doing things that contribute to your life in the right ways. Take the time to rest and relax to rejuvenate. Take the time to be bored so that your creative juices can flow and you can find your freedom and flow. Take the time to get away from being “busy” so you can figure out what it is that actually makes you happy.

Don’t get swept up in being busy. Get swept up in doing nothing – see where that takes you.

Right now… I’m sitting in a café in Takapuna writing this blog and articulating my focus for the year. It’s something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do. Write while sitting in a café drinking coffee and here I am, finally doing it.

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