Recently one of my websites lost quite a bit of traffic over the course of about a month. I researched far and wide to dissect the reason and for the life of me I simply could not. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still ticked off and I’m still trying to figure it out (in fact I’ll never stop until I do) but there came a point where I handed the job to an expert. There’s always someone out there who can do a job way better than you. Unfortunately that costs a few bucks now and then, but it’s part of the business. So now my website analysis is in their hands. And as much as I want to email them every second of every day to see what the progress is, I know it’s way better to simply let them do their thing until they are clear on what the issues are. In essence the best thing I can do right now? Nothing. As I’ve grown my business over the years I’ve realized sometimes, actually quite often, doing nothing for the sake of the business and for the sake of my mental health is the absolute best thing I can possibly do. Today I’m going to explore both. Let’s go with doing nothing in your business first:
Certain Things Just Need to Run Their Course
If you have any kind of drive, ambition, and fire to make a business successful, hearing the phrase “run their course” can be like the kiss of death. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve thought to myself “what can I do?” when it comes to solving any type of problem or achieving any type of goal. That’s natural and there’s nothing wrong with it, until there is. Let’s take the example above. Literally today I sent an email (went against all my instincts) to my vendor about the progress on my website. I knew before even sending that email there’d be no progress. So what did I do? Wasted about 30 minutes doing research to see if I could figure out more of the problem myself. That’s 30 minutes I’ll never get back in my life. I knew it was a pointless email. He knew it was a pointless email. I could have done ANYTHING in that 30 minutes and I choose to try to control something i cannot? Because that’s all it is really. For me, for you, for anyone. It’s about control. We constantly try to control what cannot be controlled and we think that by taking action it’s actually a step in a productive direction when in fact it’s the opposite. If you make big changes to your business are you going to see the effects of those changes within minutes, days, or even months? Often times the answer is a clear “no.” So why interfere? Want to focus on something? How about the things you CAN control. Believe me, this is way easier said than done as I’m guilty of trying to control the uncontrollable on a daily basis. But as the title of this article says, sometimes doing nothing is unbelievably important to growing a business and staying sane. Speaking of staying sane, let’s take a look at that:
Doing Nothing for your Mental Well-Being
I used to think that taking a nap was a waste of time. I used to think that watching television was an even bigger waste of time (even though I consume a ton of it). I pretty much used to think that anything short of sitting at my desk and at least having myself close to my work was in some way detracting from my work. I couldn’t have possibly been more wrong. In life, work, anything, you need a break. It’s that simple. No matter what that break is, if you feel the need for one, 9 times out of 10 you need one and 9 times out of 10 if you actually take one you’ll be that much more productive afterwards. These days I force myself to take a nap somewhere between 12pm and 2pm. People smile when I tell them this. Almost laugh. In my head I’m laughing right back because I know the miraculous powers that a nap does for me. I know that when I wake up from that nap, I’ll get more done in the next hour than most people can in 5. That’s napping for ya. But it’s not just about the nap. It’s about stepping away. It’s about removing your mind from something that’s taking up too much of your mind. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a walk when you’ve been grinding for 2 hours straight. There’s nothing wrong with watching meaningless entertainment on television if it means getting your brain to just “be.” This is why people meditate and do Yoga. It’s because these are ways to get our minds clear of all the garbage. The lesson in all of this? Doing nothing isn’t doing nothing at all. It’s actually doing something extremely important. It’s keeping us in place and it’s keeping us focused on what’s most important. So how do you know when it’s time to do nothing? That’s the big question.
Knowing When To do Nothing Makes the Difference
How in the world do you know that it’s time to do nothing? I can only answer this simply by saying “you know.” You know damned well when you’ve been “on it,” i.e. focused entirely to the point of exhaustion. You know when your mind is cluttered with a million thoughts and it needs a little reset. You know these things because you feel them. At the same time you know when you should be working and when you make excuses not do. You know when you’re watching TV when you should be doing something else. Fact is, as much as I can give you criteria for understanding when it’s time to do “nothing” the reality is that internally we’re able to figure this stuff out ourselves. Listen to yourself. Don’t lie. Again, this is easier said than done. It’s extremely easy to convince ourselves of things that aren’t true but even then, we know when we’re lying to ourselves. So listen to those lies and try to fight them.