The Art of Not Getting It Done | Good Vibe Blog

The Art of Not Getting It Done

the art of not getting it doneMy commitment to not living busy means a lot of stuff doesn’t get done in my world.

My inbox has year old emails patiently waiting for my attention; my voice mail gets played once a month when the mood hits; and the garden is sporting almost as many unintended plants (aka “weeds”) as intended ones.

But I’m all caught up on Big Bang Theory reruns (just discovered that delight this summer!), my Pinterest boards are looking mighty fine these days, and I haven’t missed a weekly lunch with dad more than once this year.

In many circles, that’s considered an irresponsible way of living, because we’re supposed to work hard first to earn the right to relax, right?

The problem with that plan isn’t just that the hard work never ends and the relaxing never happens, but also that it isn’t a very fulfilling way of life. At least, not for me.

I wouldn’t suggest that we all eat dessert first or skip work to catch a matinee with the kids, but for anyone who recognizes that fun and enjoyment are further down on their priority list than they prefer, I wanted to share two tips for getting comfortable with not getting things done:

  1. get clear about what really matters to you (so in that sense, you are taking care of the “business” that you care about)
  2. and know that practice makes perfect.

I’ll elaborate …

Clear Priorities

Once I honestly began honoring my core value of “Enjoyment,” I discovered that 30 minutes of watching the cat sleep in my lap is more rewarding to me than cleaning house or checking email. I learned that diving into another showing of Moonstruck is more satisfying than networking at local events, and that laughing at damn-you-autocorrect posts adds more happiness to my day than catching up on laundry.

Letting joy lead me through the day showed me that the world doesn’t come to a halt when I focus on having a good time, and that it ‘s actually a shortcut to the purpose of everything I want anyway – which is just to feel better.

Perfecting the Practice

Some people may be able to make dramatic changes in their “busy” habits overnight, but I found it was more realistic for me to take the slow poke approach. That’s where you start with replacing just ten minutes or so a day of a “responsible” activity with some sort of goofing off.

Over time, as you learn to trust that incorporating more enjoyment in life actually works really well, then ten minutes eventually grows to an hour, an hour turns into a couple, and pretty soon you have a whole way of life oriented toward what you love rather than following the rules that don’t serve you.
get off the hamster wheel

Whether you’re down with releasing all your tolerations in your daily schedule or not, I think it’s worth remembering this:

When the world wants more from you than you care to deliver, know that overextending yourself doesn’t do anyone any favors.

If you’re stressed out, you’re not doing your best work and you’re not creating anything with positive energy in it.

You – and everyone else affected – really are better off chilling out and only engaging the “business” of life when you feel like it.

And if you never feel like it – well, I can’t imagine a better thing to eliminate from your life to-do list.

When I’m tempted to believe something is important and has to get handled asap even though I’m not keen on it, I ask myself, “What matters?” That simple question prods me to recall that my priority isn’t to get it done, but rather to enjoy myself. And if I can’t enjoy myself as I get it done, then enjoyment trumps done.

Deliver what you feel good about, and let go of the rest. It really is okay to let yourself have more fun with life!

Update: as inspired by this post, Matt & Phil invited me to their show to discuss this topic. Catch our “Wise Man Does Nothing” recording here.

fun over done

  • July 13, 2012
  • I love where you’re taking this, Eloise!! 🙂

  • Eloise says:

    Mitch’s post (July 20, 2012), gave me insight into the word ‘shoulders’. Mitch wrote about ‘shoulds’, meaning things we think should be done, usually out of a sense of duty to others, and I realized that ones shoulders are so named as we mistakenly try to carry all our ‘shoulds’ on our ‘shoulders’ . People say you have ‘broad shoulders’ if you take on a lot of stress, worry, work, duty, etc…
    And what about ‘ought’ ? Isnt that another word for nothing? If you think you ‘ought’ to do it, then there is ‘ought’ to be done! So today I’m gonna shrug my shoulders, and do ought! Tee hee!

  • Mitch says:

    Good stuff! I too have struggled with this concept. But I love your approach, Jeannette, just spending a few more minutes each day replacing work with play. That’s much less intimidating to me than just dropping all of my “shoulds” at once. And in my experience, it only takes a few minutes of fun to pull off some awesome manifestations, usually related to the stuff I was “working” to achieve! 🙂
    PS, This is the third time in a week I’ve heard how good Big Bang Theory is. I’ll have to check it out. lol

  • Annette says:

    Happy Birthday, Christina!!
    There is work and then there is work.
    Dull, drab work to me means ‘Job’.
    Fun, happy work means to me – life’s work, or my work.
    Wish there was a better way to distinguish the two, but then again, we have dew, do and due!!
    Or break – can mean broken or relaxing! Too funny . .

  • Happy belated birthday, Christina! Kudos to you for giving yourself the gift of peace of mind (“I don’t HAVE to meet this deadline.”) And having fun with a delightful game that waited for you for a year! lol
    Simple as that. 🙂

  • Christina says:

    Thanks for this reminder. I’ve been running ragged over a self-imposed deadline, and while things are working out had an epiphany the other day. I don’t HAVE to meet this deadline. I can push it back a week and it will be okay. So that’s what I’m saying now. If I make the deadline, great. If I don’t, that’s okay too. I need to remember that the relationships with people in my life are more important than my deadlines.
    I did have some fun Monday night. To celebrate my birthday, I FINALLY got to play my Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture DVD game that I’ve had for a year!
    We had a lot of fun. I can’t wait to play again.

  • I love BIG BANG THEORY! 🙂

  • Jen says:

    Love the “melted kitten” pic. A great reminder that cats have this down.

  • Pernille Madsen says:

    Great post and great comments!
    There is no doubt in my mind any more that we are here to enjoy life, not to endure life, so I totally agree with what you say!
    I’m a recovering business-before-pleasure-never-get-to-the-pleasure-part-person, who is now focusing more and more on pleasure, fun and enjoyment (and have been doing so for quite a while).
    I would lie if I said it had been easy to start doing the opposite of what I used to do, so I love your approach of starting with just 10 min. a day – that sounds like a good and pretty doable plan to me!
    THank you for writing this post and giving so great examples from your own life, you are such an inspiration 🙂

  • Reading this post made me smile because I’ve always been naturally oriented towards goofing off. I can remember back to days in school when the teacher would say or do something funny and I’d pass a note to a friend or find something amusing to look at out the window and completely lose myself in a daydream. Funny thing is that habit never changed even when I worked in the corporate world and found myself in meetings (usually bored out of my mind). I’d start doodling on my notepad, crack a joke, etc. My mind would always look for the “amusing” or “how can we find the humor here”….
    Still holds true today as I sit at my desk working and my cat gives me one of his looks and slightly opens his mouth and meows. Whatever I am doing takes less precedence on going over and attending to him. Yup…goofing off is part of my nature.
    For those who still have an “issue” with having to get certain things done before they can goof off or feel at ease, one of the things I suggest in my 10 Ways to Get Present Now is to do that activity being completely mindful and present while you are doing it. You may just find some fun and pleasure in an otherwise mundane activity. I have tried this with cleaning, ironing and many other tasks and have gotten much satisfaction from it.
    Great post, Jeannette!

  • Debra says:

    LOOOOOVE the pin, Jeannette! 😀 So happy to that all the inspiration you flow this way, also flows back to you from here. What an incredible river of inspiration we all contribute to together, huh? YAY for FUN!!!! <3 😀
    …and @Lois, gives me more giggles to know you giggled while reading my story. I'm with you, being a 'hard worker' is highly overrated! enJOY!!

  • MissyB, Matt O’Grady himself was saying he also struggles with this one. In fact, he devoted a whole show to the topic:
    Just saying you have good company, and perhaps you’ll find inspiration in the call.
    At the least, just making peace with the habit of working hard to get things done would be an improvement over despairing or judging or whatever that one has to work so hard to get the things done. Maybe working hard could be a good vibe for some?

  • MissyB says:

    Ooh – think I may have written about this before. I have trouble grappling with this one. I look at all the things that need to be done…and that makes me feel bad. And because there is so much to be done…I don’t do anything…and that makes me feel bad too ! I’m not sure which one feels worse.
    Perhaps if I should reframe and say things I want done…but that doesn’t feel great either.
    Hmmm – still grappling my end so there must be something in this to learn. Thanks GVG !

  • I AM a big fan of the insights provided by Good Vibe readers, and I LOVE when that happens! Thanks for posting so, John.
    (Maybe I should add Lois’ comment to the Readers’ quotes post:)

  • John Hare says:

    Reading Lois’ comment it struck me that, according to the LOA, if I focus on hard work, or the fact that I am a “hard worker”, then I am going to keep attracting situations in which I “have to work hard.” This is probably obvious, but it was not obvious to me in quite this way until I read Lois’ comment. Unless I want to continue working hard with less fun than I would like, I need to find ways to focus on the fun I already have in my life, and the ways I already get things done without working hard. Thank you, Lois!

  • Lois, I think we’ve got a lot of company in having been taught that hard work was something to be proud of and worth striving for.
    Kudos to us for being willing to choose whatever else we may prefer, rather than just repeating what was handed down or ingrained in our impressionable young brains.

  • Lois says:

    Debra….loved your story. It definitely made me giggle this morning. I like the way you think. I used to think that being a hard worker was something to strive for. But I have discovered that there is no glory in being a hard worker. Now I am focusing on the fun and pleasure. Yeah that’s where its at. Being a hard worker is no longer my identity.

  • Yes! I hadn’t thought of that, but love it, Debra! How much more time there is when we live life this way! Love that!
    And I was SO inspired by your “fun over done” that I made a pin and added it to the post! (We get it, even if sleepy Mark didn’t.) lol
    Thank you for that!!

  • Debra says:

    Haha!! Just have to share this PS… I went to bed last night after leaving my comment above, was falling asleep and all of a sudden I started laughing out loud. 😀 Mark who was a little further along toward sleep wondered what the heck I was doing. 😉
    And I blurted out, “FUN OVER DONE. Hahaha That’s SO funny. I meant, ‘Here’s to FUN *over* DONE’, as in, fun always trumps done (as Jeannette said)…fun always wins. But, it sounds like, FUN *OVER-done*…and that’s simply not possible. Fun cannot be *over-done* and yet, fun is *always OVER* done. Hahahahahaaaa!!!” Mark said, OOOOO-Kay! And I said, Mmmhmmm, sure is! …and I laughed myself to sleep.
    Great grid work last night; thanks for the inspiration! Voxtexy sweet dreams all night long! Zzzz…hahahahaaaa!!! 😀 (And I have no idea if anyone reading this will find it funny & that is also making me chuckle! Haha! enJOY your day!)

  • Debra says:

    Great post, Jeannette! Pretty much my Living My Life My Way, Joy First Manifesto. Mark and I committed to “our joy first, the rest can wait (indefinitely)” about 10 years ago, when we sold our kick butt award winning salon/spa and moved to Kauai.
    We’ve never looked back and each and every day we grow joyfully into fuller and fuller alignment with BEing and DOing that which we love, that which brings us joy, first…and not caring if we get something ‘done’.
    It’s funny how much ‘time’ there is when we live life that way!
    …and hey, in college if I ran out of undies ’cause I hadn’t been home to do laundry in a few weeks, I went to the store and got a few more to make it through. There’s a solution for everything, many times more than one, and always one that’s more fun!
    Sleeps calling now… That sounds FUN! 🙂
    Here’s to FUN OVER DONE …sweet dreams!

  • That’s very cool, Ashley, that you’ve had the experience of professional success when you go on vacation! It makes me think of how any time we’re doing something we enjoy, no matter what it is, we’re opening the vibrational door for Universe to deliver the good stuff.
    Thanks for reading and for posting, Ashley! 🙂

  • Ashley says:

    Thank you Jeanette for your inspirational blog post. I’m going to follow your lead and make fun or relaxing time a priority, starting right now. I know I will have much to report back. Every time I go away on vacation I sell a house (I’m a real estate broker) so this has been working for me for awhile. I just need the kick in the pants (your blog post) to remind me that I’m here to have fun and enjoy life to the fullest.
    Thank you Frank for posting Paul’s great quotes, especially “They buy from you because of your alignment” What a great little nugget that is.
    I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s comments. 🙂

  • Well, I’m making progress, Carolyn. Sure progress!

  • You are my inspiration on this Jeannette, thank you! It runs counter to so much of the “gotta do” info out there, and I love that you place alignment above all else and live it! 😀

  • That was a lovely comment to read, John! I don’t know that I’ve ever read such an articulate comment on this post – thank you for it!

  • John Hare says:

    Thank you very much for this well written expression of universal truth. I am a long time student of Abraham, and this post certainly expresses “Abraham like” principles, but with specific examples from your own experience and with insights that apply and extend the Abraham material in a new way.

  • That’s a high compliment, Frank – thank you! (“JHC – this is good stuff!”) I LOVE what Paul says about why people buy. It explains a LOT, doesn’t it?!
    Alignment is the name of the game! Which makes perfect sense that that’s when you make money – sleeping, channeling, having fun.
    Thanks for posting on this one, my friend! 🙂

  • JHC, this is good stuff!
    Paul says this: “Alignment trumps everything. No one buys anything from you because of how good it is, how well it is delivered, or how beautifully packaged it might be. They buy from you because of your alignment.”
    I think that’s why almost all of my product or service sales happen in one of three times:
    1. When I’m asleep
    2. When I’m having a lot of fun doing something unrelated to “working”
    3. When I’m channeling
    I put “working” in quotes because that’s not channeling (which is my “work” but has never once felt like “work”). When I actually do “work” it’s to do with the website or packaging products or something like that.
    I love that I create the most money in my life when I’m doing what I really, really love to do. That’s getting to have my cake and eat it too!!
    Woo effing hoo Jeannette!!

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