By Kathryn Weber
OK. You’re busy. You’ve got stuff to get done. Did you know that doing nothing could actually help you get more accomplished? It’s true.
Sometimes the way to get more work cranked out is to stop working.
If you think about what it takes to accomplish things and be productive, you’ll realize that it also takes a lack of activity to make the time you spend producing to actually be more productive.
Think of it this way: in feng shui, the building blocks of all energy are either yin (negative) or yang (positive). Bear in mind that the descriptions of yin as negative or yang as positive, though, are not about yang/good and yin/bad but are more like the energies of the two wires that make electrical sockets work.
For instance, one wire is positive (yang) and the other wire is negative (yin). Without a negative (yin) wire, the positive (yang) won’t work and vice versa. That’s also a good description of feng shui.
It’s a proven fact that in the summer time there are many crimes of passion, tempers flare and become shorter.
That’s why summertime is the perfect time to bring more yin to your life. Stephen Covey in his 7 Habits of Highly Successful People said that you have to stop and “sharpen the saw” if you want to be productive. In other words, staying busy can actually cause you to be less efficient. Too often, we feel that doing nothing isn’t productive, when it’s actually more productive than to keep going and digging ourselves deeper into a pit of fatigue.
In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, the principle energy is yang energy – going, moving, doing, busy. Overwhelm is the state many of us constantly live in. And whenever there’s excess yang, there’s burn out.
Summer is another time – the season when the earth is at its maximum yang state – when we need more yin energy. Withdrawing to the beach with a good book is a great way to spend time in the summer – and indulge in some beneficial, and energy-producing, yin activity. Even deeper? Everything comes from nothing, so why not indulge yourself in a little nothing this summer? Read on about other ways to enjoy yin energy and help keep your energy balanced in the dog days of summer!
— Think cool and dark. Heat outside getting to you? The summer can make us feel frenetic. Why not withdraw and sit in the movie theater for one (or more) showings of your favorite film? Or, create a move theater experience at home and rent several movies and spend a whole day watching films.
— Be spontaneous. Yin energy is also about lack of control. There’s a saying that “change is as good as a rest.” Take an afternoon and travel to an area where you’ve never been and just wander around. Or go to a new restaurant where you’ve never been or try a new food – Korean Barbecue anyone? Just do something completely spontaneous and different, not scripted, scheduled, planned or known to give yourself a break.
— Eat cool foods. Foods that are cooling are more yin. Try foods that are double yin – liquid and cool. A cold cucumber or strawberry soup would give you that cooling, refreshed feeling and make you feel full. Liquids are good feng shui for weight loss, too. A full glass of water or a cold soup before a meal will help fill you up so you eat less.
— Clear your desk. Feeling overwhelmed, can’t think clearly? When you’re spinning your wheels and not getting anywhere, stop what you’re doing and then clear your desk. Dust it and clean it, too. Time spent putting things away reduces visual clutter, which can make your mind more active. You’ll be amazed that simply stopping and clearing your desk can do for your mental state.
— Clear your schedule. Too many people live and die by schedules – even fun gets scheduled. When was the last time you cleared your calendar and just let the mood move you before deciding what to do – like on a weekend? Take some time off and don’t make any plans. Then, see where the day leads you.
— Clear your mind. Meditation – the act of clearing your mind – can make you think more clearly once you go back to working and living. Allowing all the “white noise” of your mind and mental chatter subside is invaluable for helping you make decisions, feel less hurried and prevent nervous exhaustion. Sitting quietly and focus on your breath. Imagine white smoke going into your nostrils as you breathe in and black smoke coming out as you inhale. Do this for five minutes and then build up.
— Read a good book. Take an afternoon off and read a fiction book. Non-fiction books often focus on learning something and this just piles on more pressure. Fiction and biography books let you get lost in the experience being written about. When you’re reading you can’t do something else and that frees up your mind, allowing you to put your mind into “neutral” – which relaxes your mind.
— Schedule a vacation. The mere act of planning a weekend off or vacation well in advance will help calm your mind and give you something to look forward to. Too often we’ll schedule our teeth to be cleaned six months in advance, but we’ll wait until the last minute to plan a vacation. Vacations – and the time off they bring — need to be scheduled in advance. Don’t wait to give yourself time off.