Niksen: The value of doing nothing.

by Frank Butler

This idea of nothing is derived from the Dutch. The general idea is that you take some time out of your day to intentionally do … nothing. This idea was brought to light by a book written by Olga Meckling titled Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing*.

We will be releasing an episode on this very topic in the coming future, but just wanted to get this idea out there. There are numerous ways in which you can implement this idea of Niksen into your day. For example, you can meditate, look out a window, or any number of things. But the general idea is to not fill in time between activities or while waiting for something with activities like checking email. For example, if you are waiting for the tea kettle to boil so you can get some tea, don’t check your email or social media. Do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just listen to the kettle as it heats the water. Watch it as the water begins to bubble. Just focus on the simplicity of that.

Emily Maloney describes the benefits the best as you begin to implement the idea of Niksen in her article at the Washington Post:

I noticed something else, too: These breaks in my day were most helpful when I was tired and needed a reset, when I was looking for space to be creative, or when I was having trouble focusing on a task I needed to do. Instead of fighting my natural rhythms, I gave in to them.

Emily Maloney 2019 Washington Post Article

Give it a try yourself. And remember, it takes time to undo habits so don’t give up. Practice taking little bits of time on doing nothing instead of filling in times with unnecessary busyness activities. Work to stamp out the “Infinite Loop of Busyness” and help both your mental health out and your productivity.

Like, share, or comment on this post if you experience benefits from this approach. Or if you’ve implemented this in the past, or have more questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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