Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Law Career Fitness Challenge #3- Spend Time Doing Absolutely Nothing

law career fitness challengeToday’s career fitness challenge is to stop.

Stop what, you ask? Stop everything. Do nothing.

It’s harder than you think in today’s warp-speed world – especially for someone as busy as a law student or new admittee.

“It’s much easier to do almost anything incessantly than to spend time doing nothing,” says this article in Inc. “Now, more than ever, people fill their schedules to the brim…. You take on a plethora of activities in order to improve your life. What people don’t realize is this: Doing nothing gives you the chance to grow. Being alone without obligation – without the nagging feeling that you’re doing less than you should – allows you to look inward. Without an activity to distract your mind, you must think about yourself.”

The idea is to be, not do.

And if that sounds a bit too Oprah for you, consider this: financier J.P. Morgan took two months off every year to simply chill. “I can get done in 10 months what I could never do in 12,” he famously said.

More and more employers are following Morgan’s lead. Companies like Apple, Google, Nike and AOL Time Warner are offering their employees opportunities – through paid leave, flex time, meditation, yoga and the like – to create space in their lives.

Get Rich by Taking Time Out

Financial guru Porter Stansberry even recommends a money management strategy of doing nothing.

“[T]he most important secret of all is learning to do nothing,” he writes here. “Yes, you read that right. I want you to learn how not to buy stocks. How not to trade commodities. How not to sell options or buy corporate bonds…. [N]o one else in finance is going to tell you, the client, to do nothing. It’s not in their interest for you to do nothing. We – the professional financial community – need you to do something. Anything. And yes, you can do a lot of powerful things to generate income that will help you weather these storms. But the most powerful thing you can do is nothing.”

Obviously, Morgan and Stansberry don’t believe the key to success is spending all day watching Netflix on the couch. What they’re saying is that when you step back and catch your breath, you will return to your obligations renewed and refreshed. The result: you will be more productive – and creative – than if you had continued slogging along without respite.

And if you protest that you simply don’t have the time to do nothing? Well, that should be a tip-off that you might be aboard a runaway train.

Five Training Tips

  1. Schedule time for relaxation every day. It won’t happen if you don’t carve out space for it. First thing in the morning is a great time. That way, you start the day clear and clean.
  2. Sit silently and breathe. Feel the cool air coming in and the slightly warmer air going out. Breathe deeply, all the way down to your belly. Doing this will slow your heart rate and relax your body.
  3. Dedicate a “time-out” space in your home or office. Make sure there are no phones or other devices to distract you.
  4. Start doing yoga, meditation, centering prayer or some other relaxation technique. Commit to at least 5-10 minutes each day. Increase the time as you go.
  5. Look out the window. See the clouds in the sky. Watch the trees blowing in the breeze. Observe your thoughts. Are you getting fidgety and anxious? Do you feel compelled to get up and do something?
Check out last week's challenge here.

 

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About the Author

Jay Reeves

jay.reeves@ymail.com | 919-619-2441

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Over the course of his 35-year career he was a solo practitioner, corporate lawyer, legal editor, Legal Aid staff attorney and insurance risk manager. Today he helps lawyers and firms put more mojo in their practice through marketing, work-life balance and reclaiming passion for what they do. He is available for consultations, retreats and presentations.

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