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Creating Successful Leaders

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Many of us live packed-to-the-gills lives. We bustle around to work, soccer practice, meetings, and doctor appointments. We do our best to keep our homes clean and our appliances in working order while trying to juggle careers and families. On average, Americans are 400% more productive today than they were in 1950…and our salaries are not keeping pace.

Amid all the hustle and bustle, it’s important to squeeze one more thing into your schedule: “Do Nothing” Time.

If scheduling in swaths of free time sounds radical or even absurd, hear me out. Those periods between your commitments—the times when you allow yourself to simple sit and think and be—are incredibly important for creativity and future productivity. These are times when you can let your mind wander to wherever it wants to go. You are free to recuperate from the constant barrage of activities and de-stress.

If sitting around doing nothing seems uncomfortable or awkward at first, that’s okay! If you’re used to constant activity, it can be a little strange to suddenly step away from it all. To transition into your “do nothing” time, you may want to start slowly. Find a quiet spot and jot down your thoughts in a notebook. Go on a walk and take in your surroundings. As long as you’re not bombarding yourself with media (phones on airplane mode!), that’s a good start.

If you’re still not convinced that “do nothing” time can help generate creativity or replenish your tank, look no further than some of the greatest thinker and inventors in the past century: Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. Both of these highly influential, bright men were adamant about creating down time for themselves. Einstein enjoyed riding his bicycle through the countryside, and many of his most profound thoughts happened while perched on the seat of a bike. He simply needed the time and space to let his mind meander to wherever it wanted to go.

Next time you pull up your calendar, commit to scheduling in a little “do nothing” time. You might choose to pencil in a little time each morning, or a few hour-long chunks during the week. Even a half-hour is good start. By taking the time to simply be, you are not only giving yourself a gift, but also aiding your future productivity and creativity. In the end, you’re really not doing “nothing.” You’re investing in the future.

Looking for a job change? Or, hoping to accelerate your current career? Check out the career resources (both FREE and paid) on my website!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

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