Punctuated Work, Play, Nothing

Punctuated Work, Play, Nothing

Reflection of a tree over water symbolizing the reflection of reality within a still and relaxed mind


What an interesting experiment I’ve been on recently.  I’ve talked about the need for work hobbies, learning constantly, and project based work, but actually implementing these behaviors as everyday professional life is quite eye-opening.  To jump to what would otherwise be the conclusion, I feel like a more whole and complete person as a result of these practices.

It almost feels as if my life, not just my work, has a new layer of welcomed depth and complexity.

So now that I’ve reached a new sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with this cycle, I’m very much thinking that it’s not enough to simply have a work-life balance, nor is it enough to incorporate some of life (especially play) into work—and we can’t deny that work has crept into other parts of life.  I now think that we need more time doing absolutely nothing.

In the personal realm, this is often suggested by psychologists and health experts as a way to unwind.  “Spend time daydreaming like you did when you were a kid.” they tell us.  We find this encouragement from religion and spirituality as well, and increasingly fitness, where meditation and prayer are highly suggested as forms of reflection and introspection.

My charge is that I now believe we, the workers of the world (from CEO down to Intern) also need paid time on the job to “do nothing”.  Alright, alright, you already know that by do nothing I mean reflect, contemplate, and have moments of introspection.  Try some of the following tactics and tell me that they don’t lead you to some nice productive gains or insights into your job:

  • Sit quietly in your cubicle or office, not typing, talking, or writing for a moment.  Observe your surroundings.
  • In operations, take any down time (which is normally spent cleaning or organizing) and take a few moments to be aware of your surroundings.  Who, and what, is present?
  • And if you can’t safely find time to do either of the above, take a break every time the smokers do and stay near your work zone but somewhat removed.  Simply observe the operations.