One day when your phone does not work properly and all you have to do is switching it off for a couple of minutes hoping that once you switch it on its system will back to normal, you began to realize that any working system need to take some rest. Or when you are anxious, you decide to take deep breaths before sleeping your problems away wishing that the second you open your eyes waking up to the next day, your mind will automatically think more clearly. You observe a similar pattern: the hiatus, to stop working or thinking for a while. What about a bliss of just laying on your bed after a busy week? Definitely sounds like a bliss!
We all shall live in the present without worrying much about tomorrow and not regretting what we have done yesterday, and not everyone in this world can master the art of enjoying the now-ness, where you can really be aware of your surround and be grateful about it. If only people can understand that our overworked life can lead to stress, depression, and the absence of leisure time; we would more appreciate the hours of doing nothing.
Hartmurt Rosa, a German theorist introduces what we can refer to as social acceleration that explains why technological advancement and developments affect the flow of change in modern social life. Most of us are familiar with “reply this email ASAP”, “will get back to you soon”, “please send the report now”, and likes. While in one hand it is somewhat stimulating in a way that make us very productive, in the other hand it also exerts pressure which makes us focus on the speed. Fast. Hurry. Responsive. Quick. Exhausting. Always on. Now or never.
Rosa argues, the phenomena of technological developments should have created more individual’s free time instead because technologies were made to make our life easier, right? We must admit that any advancements human initiate in this modern age can enhance our potential and create more jobs than ever, but beneath, there are our tired selves with high level of anxiety waiting to explode because of the pressure to accelerate our work. Neglecting the power of doing nothing can also lead to negative impacts on environment. If we always focus on our work instead of pedalling our pace, we will keep on producing more waste where the cycle is even quicker than it can be processed. Then our work will be doubled since we have more waste to be processed sustainably.
Some researches state, in higher-speed environments such as in the US or UK, people whose work environments are very intense were reported to suffer health issues and anxiety compared to those who work in slower-pace environments. Even from personal point of view, logically speaking, you would not have more time to evaluate and feel satisfy about your work just because there is no more free time left for you. The money we earn will never really compensate the issues we get in return.
So, what is next? Just put on our pajamas and neglecting those sudden emails from our boss at midnight? No, do not mistake doing nothing for being lazy. INSEAD’s Clinical Professor Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries on his book Doing Nothing and Nothing to Do: The Hidden Value of Empty Time and Boredom says, we are the potential victims of informational overload; and that doing nothing actually nurtures out vision and imagination. When our brain and mind seem to be inactive, we have more room to cultivate insights and creativity that have been stored for so long in the corner of our mind. As the history has taught us, even Einstein and Newton did not discover their inventions by working tirelessly night and day. Instead, their creativity was stimulated while doing nothing.
Relax. Work excitedly and productively is important, especially in this age of speed. Our advice for you is to not forget to take deep breathes, literally and figuratively!