What goes through our mind when we are doing absolutely nothing? It is time for us to realize that doing nothing is not a bad thing . We live absorbed in a world where we are overloaded with tasks and activities on a day-to-day basis , where we don’t have time to think about anything other than our chores , but now we have plenty of time due to this global epidemic.
Interestingly, despite being locked up at home, suggestions to fill our ‘free time’ keep coming in . And yet, if there is one word that has come to light these days, it is: boredom . And I wonder, when was the last time you did absolutely nothing? Now more than ever a thousand and one leisure plans appear before us , numerous magazines offer their numbers for free, some streaming services give a free month and many apps allow you to register without any payment. In social networks you can find different options to occupy your time during this quarantineFrom cooking with a Michelin Star chef to training with Chris Hemsworth himself.
The idea of spending as much time as possible in our days doing things so as not to get bored has become a new imposed routine where we do an infinite number of tasks to feel fulfilled . Doing nothing during these days of confinement becomes a complicated and somewhat tough task as the offer of options constantly grows in this world dominated by social networks. Surely, a large part of you around you will be performing many meaningless tasks in their lives during these days with a single purpose: to feel complete, fulfilled and satisfied at the end of their day .
There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing nothing
For this reason, the philosopher Michel Feher , author of ‘ El tiempo de la inversion. Essay on the new social question ‘, during a talk in Barcelona, he pointed out the need that many of us feel to show our thousands of tasks that we dedicate ourselves to at home on social networks. We feel that ” we must sell our reputation and personal credit as an added value both at work, on social networks or in our own life,” the philosopher also points out. And the truth is that he is right.
In addition, he also pointed out that the majority of society ( especially women ) suffers from the so-called ‘ Duck Syndrome ‘, which is nothing more than a metaphor where the duck that is in the pond, on the surface is calm and placid, while underwater it is wagging its legs frantically . Which means that many people are calm but, deep down, they feel the need for self-exploitation only in order to feel that their productivity remains intact.
On a day-to-day basis, we assume that the more we produce, the more valuable we present ourselves (and feel) to others, to the system. For this reason, during this time of confinement at home , on many occasions the need to feel constantly productive arises in us , at any time of the day. We are seduced by the idea of occupying all our time with tasks, helping us with the great offer we have on social networks.
Think for a moment: when was the last time you did nothing? It was a long time ago, right? Each of us confirms that self-exploitation is increasingly present in this society . This feeling and demand on ourselves has been created by the capitalist system , which has established that the value of a person is measured in terms of their productivity.
Self-exploitation as a sociocultural value
How many times have we not wished the world would stop so that we could with it ? Why don’t we do it now that we have the opportunity? We are forced to stop our lives, our plans and activities to be able to dedicate time to ourselves, to our mind, and now that the world, for a greater cause has been forced to stop, we become more productive than ever , we do more activities than ever. We complain that we don’t have time to disconnect, and once we do, we insist on being busy . We feel compelled to be constantly productive. Enough already. It’s okay to do nothing .
In fact, doing nothing is a necessary luxury so that everything around us makes sense. It is this desire to be the most productive that makes our worst enemy appear: anxiety . And the best way to combat anxiety is to stop, do nothing and know yourself, but that is precisely our phobia. We are terrified of dead times, we are terribly afraid of listening to each other, of truly knowing each other .
Do not be afraid of boredom, having moments to yourself where you do nothing does not mean that you are unproductive , do not feel guilty about it, do not feel sadness or frustration . Sometimes taking breaks from our life helps us a lot to be able to see things better and thus be able to give a good solution to our problems.
Nor is it about completely stopping doing things , or stopping to be just as productive and burn again. It is about stopping in order to reflect, it is about finding space and time to do nothing , to let our mind rest. For it is important, since you are reading this, that you stop for a moment and look for your space and your time, you will be grateful. Getting bored is not a bad thing, on the contrary, it is a powerful and inspiring tool and, above all, necessary. Surely many of the great ideas in history have been the fruit of a time of weariness. The act of contemplating nothingness for a long time is a good resource for the creativity that exists in us to be born .
Fate , for better or for worse, has given us this opportunity . So take advantage of it to enjoy the wonderful practice of doing nothing, and don’t feel guilty about it. Does it make sense that time, our most precious value (because it is not money) we lose precisely because we want to make the most of it? It sounds absurd, really. Perhaps a global pandemic had to come for us to realize it .