Even in the midst of a life-changing pandemic, we are still “encouraged” to do more. To “take advantage” of this time at home and to see what you can accomplish. We’ve all seen the quotes going around about how Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague, Taylor Swift released 2 new albums. Leaving us to ask ourselves “so what great work will I accomplish??”
Yet, the question that we don’t ask ourselves enough is what can I let go of?
When we check in with ourselves, we start to realize that there are things that we need to do for ourselves (body, mind and soul) and they might not be one of the many items on the pandemic lists of 2020 that have been floating around.
I don’t know about you, but I did not bake any sourdough bread while in quarantine. In fact, the only baking that I did was at Christmas. And I bake something at every Christmas so this was business as usual for me. Except that I baked less this time.
Ah, doing less. What comes up for you when you think about doing less?
Does your inner critic pipe up with all of the things that you “should” be doing the moment that you decide to sit down and take some time for yourself?
The Purpose Behind Doing Less
Telling someone to “just do less” may sound easy, but the reality is it can actually be very hard. Especially if you are the type of person who likes to keep busy otherwise they feel unproductive and lazy.
But the thing is, that’s not actually true. While we might think that #doingallthethings makes us productive and that the alternative is just laziness, we’re actually able to feel some sense of accomplishment and joy in what we do – by doing less.
Making the conscious choice to do less, for its own sake, can be startling and transformative.
Just imagine what it would be like to have a real and unhurried conversation in the middle of the workday with someone you care about? What would that feel like?
Imagine completing one task at a time and feeling calm and happy about it. Imagine waking up in the morning and engaging in a gratitude practice – simply for being alive and that the sun is shining.
When we make the conscious choice to do less, we mindfully choose the things that matter to us. Almost immediately we can start to feel a sense of ease.
Choosing less, means being aware of what you are doing. This new awareness means that the mindless doom scrolling starts to happen less. We stop trying to multi-task (which doesn’t even really work) and we do just this one thing. And then we do the next thing. And the next.
Slow Down to Do More
This new attention that you’re bringing to your work? Means that you are no longer running around from task to task. You feel more focused and able to complete the task that you sat down to do. Because by doing less, you’ve already eliminated most of the distractions that keep you off task.
Mindfulness can help you to tap into and connect to yourself. To start you on the process of noticing when you are taking on too much, when you need to let go and to start asking what’s needed now?
A Mindfulness Practice for Doing Less
For this practice you don’t even need to get up from your desk. It’s called an Intentional Pause and it’s a deliberate slowing down and pausing in between tasks.
Finish writing a blog post? Great! Stop, take a moment to check in, take a few slow breaths, notice what’s going on inside and outside of you, and then gently move to the next task.
That’s it. That’s the practice.
I like to do this one throughout my day. Choosing moments of stillness helps me to connect into myself which always helps me to make the best business decisions that are right for me.
Getting into the car after grocery shopping? Take an intentional pause after you sanitize your hands before shifting the car out of park.
Moving from the “office” to the next room in your house. Pause, check in and then go.
You can do this practice over and over again.
Every time we practice pausing we learn how to be still and how to be with ourselves. Which is a great skill to develop for ourselves.