Why the rush? An ode to doing nothing

BRrrrrK! Your alarm goes off for the 5th time, now you’re running late. Coat, shoes, downstairs, you run to the bus stop. Just missed it. Checking emails, checking messages, your to-do list is already growing. On the bus, replying to emails. Regrets, why did you leave this for Monday instead of doing it Friday afternoon!? In the office, more emails, more phone calls, you forgot your lunch, might as well work though it anyway. More emails, damn you forgot to attach a file, damn you forgot to CC that person in, damn you’re tired…

Photo by Andy Beales

We live in a fast-paced world. To hustle is to live, to be busy is the only way to be, everything else is just laziness. But what if I told you that taking a break is not actually going to detract from your success, but actually enhance it?

Busy does not always equal being productive, in fact constantly grinding away can lead to burn-out. It can lower your immunity, make you more susceptible to colds and cause other stress-related illnesses.¹ There is however something that can mean the difference between someone thriving and someone burning out, and that is slo w i n g d o w n.²

While reading a Forbes article the other day I came across the term ‘Niksen’. Niksen is a Dutch practice of intentionally taking time out of your day to do nothing. To do things like day-dreaming, and gazing out the window.³ It is a way to stop, to be present. By slowing down we become more empathetic, we think clearer, make deeper connections, and it results in better mental health. Eknath Easwaran put it beautifully saying “That is what it means to be stress-proof: not avoiding stress but being at our best under pressure: calm, cool and creative in the midst of the storm.”⁴ Engaging in activities that encourage you to slow down can make you more creative, not just only artistically, but also in your everyday problem solving.

So shift your perspective! Taking breaks is not lazy, but actually the key to a healthy and successful life. Start daydreaming, stare out of that window… o r my personal favourite, start journaling!

Photo by Prophsee Journal

Journaling is a great way to slow down in your day. Getting away from the constant distraction of devices, focusing on something that has no deadline, no guidelines, no limits. I always like to keep a physical planner. It means that even when organising the stresses of my life, I can slow down, I can do it with coloured pens and rainbow highlighters, I can draw little brains and seagulls in the margins. You haven’t got to be good at art to be creative, you just need to allow yourself some time to do it, and you’ll be healthier and more productive because of it.

Take a walk

Einstein went on daily walks and look where it got him! Take some time out for some gentle exercise and a chance to take in your surroundings a little. You will be surprised at how much you miss when you’re always in a rush. The little independent shop on the corner, the colourful shop window display, the tiny graffiti rabbit on the wall. The worlds full of beautiful things calling out to you to notice, give them the chance they deserve!

Cece repping one of our gorgeous tote bags! | Photo by Nick Ford

BRrrrk! Your alarm goes off. Warm light is shining through the cracks in your curtains, the clouds outside look like a snail. Coat, shoes, downstairs for breakfast — toast at the window. You’ve got some time for some people watching, Paolo Nutini plays on the radio. Walk to the bus stop, careful to avoid the street artist work on the pavement, a friendly smile to the lady feeding the pigeons. A giant painting of Greta Thurberg by the traffic lights, how did they manage to paint so high up? Into the office, your mind is clear, you’re inspired, perhaps you look into how you can get involved with Fridays for Future. You’ve slowed down, and you’re showing up better than ever.

We hope this encourages you to take that time you need to slow down, to doodle, to daydream. Our little subscription service is a great way to allot some down-time every month; a time to sit and read, to take in some art, and to think about something new. Check us out at www.poemsbypost.org.

Poems by Post, October 2021 Edition | Poem by Alba Frederick | Artwork by Harriette Lloyd

1 Blaschka, A. (2019). The Fastest Way To Be More Productive Is To Slow Down. Forbes Magazine. (Accessed: 11/04/22) https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyblaschka/2019/07/23/the-fastest-way-to-be-more-productive-is-to-slow-down/?sh=31435cc151a0

2 Thomas, A. 4 Reasons Why Slowing DOwn Will Actually Make You More Successful. Inc. 5000. (Accessed: 11/04/22) https://www.inc.com/andrew-thomas/4-reasons-why-slowing-down-will-actually-make-you-more-successful.html

3 Blaschka, A. (2018). If You Want To Supercharge Your Life, Do This. Forbes Magazine. (Accessed: 11/04/22) https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyblaschka/2018/10/22/if-you-want-to-supercharge-your-life-turn-observations-into-actions/?sh=3c16001d960b

4 Le Cunff, A. An ode to slowness: the benefits of slowing down. Ness Labs. (Accessed: 11/04/22) https://nesslabs.com/the-benefits-of-slowing-down

Originally published at https://www.poemsbypost.org.



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