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  • Writer's pictureNiki Ernst


In 1972, the columnist Harold Pullman Coffin, suggested to recognize the Do Nothing Day to enjoy a day when Americans can just sit withouth celebrating, observing or honoring anything. Since then, Jan 16th is Do-Nothing-Day. An un-event, because a National Holiday requires Congress approval.

So this is where we have stranded. We are in the era of conscious removing. Be conscious about leaving the phone away for a certain time. Be conscious about not checking your email every 10 minutes. Be conscious about not loading every day with meetings, back to back. The list goes on.

To me, a room is perfect, if you cannot remove anything, anymore.

Same way of thinking.

When I read about the Do Nothing Day, I had this epiphany, how strange this actually is. Is packed and loaded our default setting? Should we be a lot leaner? What if, every day would start as a white paper, and we would be conscious about everything, we put on this paper? What if NOT having your phone with you, is default - and taking the device becomes conscious. What if NO meeting is default, and setting up appointments becomes an act of being conscious about your time available. What if NO todo list is default, and we think twice on every item, we put on our todo list?

Maybe, a Do Nothing day should not be worth celebrating. Maybe, “Do Nothing” should not be treated as something in absence of things. Do Nothing - should not even be worth mentioning. How good will you become in what you are passionate about, if “Do Nothing” is the new default, every single “do [fill the blank]” is the add-on that makes your day special.

For most of us,”Do Nothing” is a very uncomfortable thought. Can you still love yourself, if you do nothing? How much are you defining yourself by the level of being busy, doing something?

Here is a provocative thought:

if you define yourself by the things you do, it is not about the things you do, anymore. If you define yourself by the things you do, you define yourself by the level of how busy you keep youself.

Has “do [fill the blank]” become our reason of being?

Curious to read and hear what you think about it.

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