Have the day off? Try doing nothing

Have the day off? Try doing nothing.

Doing nothing — ironically — can be a great way to make yourself more creative and productive over time, according to New York Times Smarter Living editor Tim Herrera.

“There’s a lot of studies that show that building laziness and building idle time into you schedule and into your regular routine can actually in this weird roundabout way make you more productive,” Herrera told “CBS This Morning” Monday. “Letting your brain be kind of lazy and wander and just kind of going off into whatever daydreams you have can actually make us more creative, can make us better problem solvers — can actually help us have better and more creative ideas in the long run.”

More important than doing nothing, Herrera said, is the idea that you give yourself permission to take the day off. Studies show that Americans only send about 40% fewer emails on holiday Mondays compared to regular Mondays.

“We need to be OK with accepting the day for what it is — which is a day off. Don’t need to check your email, don’t need to be responding. The world is not going to end if you’re not on your phones the whole day,” Herrera said.

Herrera also stressed the importance of doing something that you might not normally do on your day off. For example, fewer than half of American families have a regular family dinner and 20% of meals are eaten in the car. Use your day off to gather the family around and eat together.

Another way to use your day off is to tackle those tasks that have been nagging you, the things that keep you up at night — no matter how menial they may be.

“We all have these things that are kind of in the background that we know we need to do but we’re putting them off for whatever reason,” Herrera said. “It’s so funny that so many of these tasks are just kind of small, menial little things. Maybe it’s an email you have to send, a thank you card. But just getting it done and out of the way is such a relief.”

The last piece of advice he offered to make good use out of your day off is to take the time to forgive someone.

“Holding onto grudges and not forgiving people can actually have physical repercussions. It can increase stress hormones in your system, it can contribute to cardiovascular disease. So we hold onto this tension and this anger,” he said. “It’s less about the person you’re forgiving, it’s more about letting yourself be free from the hold they have over you.” 

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