I get it; the title might raise a few eyebrows. “Plan to do nothing?” Is this even relevant in a leadership article?
You might be picturing yourself reclining in your chair, feet up, and daydreaming away. Sorry to poke a hole in your blissful vision; however, planning to do nothing doesn’t mean you’ll be twiddling your thumbs. Quite the opposite – It’s about giving yourself the room to be spontaneous, creative, and open to life’s surprises. Stick with me, and I’ll show you why planning to do nothing might pleasantly surprise you.
Over Scheduled and Under Creative
Your typical workday is a frenzy of appointments, tasks, interruptions, and meetings. Ping! Constant reminders disrupt your work flow. Sound familiar? We cram our days so full that it often feels like we’re running on a treadmill, only to realize we’ve covered half the distance. The result? A sense of inadequacy because we didn’t conquer what we set out to achieve. Our schedules are so jam-packed that there’s hardly room to take a deep breath, let alone indulge in creative thinking.
Sure, planning is important – I’m not disputing that. I mean, I thrive on plans and lists just like you do. Many successful people swear by scheduling every minute of their day. But in our quest to be ultra-efficient, are we missing out on the big picture? Might we be brushing past opportunities that could be the game-changers we’ve been waiting for?
So, by all means, keep scheduling, but leave a little space. Because when your day is chock-full of tasks and to-do’s, you might just miss out on those transformative “big picture” moments.
Think about those brilliant ideas or opportunities that flash through your mind during the day – the ones you promise to get back to “later.” More often than not, “later” never comes. The moment passes, we return to our tasks, and the opportunity slips away.
Allow me to illustrate this with a legendary example:
The reality is, when we overly regiment our daily routines and forget to take a step back and observe the world around us, we often miss out. We miss significant opportunities, subtle moments, and potentially life-altering experiences. The worst part? We’re often unaware of what slipped through our fingers.
So, what’s the solution? Plan NOTHING! Seriously, block off some time in your calendar and label it as such. (you might need to explain this to your boss😉).
When that time arrives, do something random – whatever strikes you as the right thing to do at this moment. No work tasks, no social media, no emails. Here are some ideas:
- Management by walking around: It is a concept by management guru Tom Peters. It means walking around the workplace, talking to people, asking questions, and actively listening.
- Explore forgotten ideas: Revisit that idea you shelved because you “didn’t have time.”
- Observe and wonder: Enjoy a cup of tea while observing your customers and employees – what do they say and do?
- Curiosity is key: Ask yourself questions about your business. Look around your workplace and wonder about everything. Why do we have that sign there? What does a customer see when they walk through the doors?
- Connect personally: Strike up a random conversation with an employee or customer. Discover something new about them.
- Self-reflection: Ponder a leadership question. What is one thing I can do better as a leader? Can I do it right now?
- Feedback loop: Ask your team how you’re doing in a particular area.
- Nature’s therapy: Take a 15-minute walk to clear your mind and find solutions or just appreciate how incredible nature is.
The Unexpected Benefits of Spontaneity
What can you achieve by planning to do nothing? Here are some possibilities:
💡Uncover hidden problems.
💡Discover talents in your team.
💡Solve tricky issues that have been plaguing you.
💡Identify fresh approaches to tasks.
💡Recharge your creative batteries.
💡Initiate changes you didn’t realize were needed.
💡Gain a new perspective on your challenges.
Remember, the best ideas and insights come unexpectedly, but only if you let them. So, embrace the power of doing nothing – it just might be the missing ingredient in your recipe for success!
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”Albert Einstein
Take a moment to reflect on your typical workday. Do you have white space in your schedule?
What might happen if you did?
What changes or adjustments will you make in your daily or weekly schedule to embrace spontaneity?
Challenge yourself to schedule a ‘Plan to Do Nothing’ hour this week. What activities or tasks would you consider doing during that hour? Share your ideas!”