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September, 2013


Are you setting aside time to do nothing?


I really don't know where the past several months have gone. The summer whirled by and as fall is fast approaching, the holidays will soon be upon us.  Fortunately I did get some down time and in fact, while we were on vacation last month I realized that what I miss most these days is the time to simply do nothing.


Even my vacation required a bit too much of "doing."


Our days are so much about doing, that we have undervalued doing nothing and simply reflecting.   


For me, this year has been a bit like drinking from a fire hose; from starting a new position while still maintaining some speaking opportunities to undergoing a massive renovation at my home.  It seems that I have had a shortage of inactivity to enable my doing nothing and reflection.  Reflection for me usually involves sitting, staring out of a window and getting lost in a sea of nothingness without any purpose or reason. 


As we all get busy,  it seems that the first thing to go is that quiet time that we all need to feel grounded and make the right choices and decisions. 


It's the kind of  quiet time that has no intended purpose.  Not the kind of quiet productive time, like reading a book, puttering around the house organizing, or planning your next event.


It's the kind of quiet time that is required for creativity to stir.


My mentor and past boss at my former employer once tried to institute the idea of scheduling an hour of no meetings and doing nothing but thinking each day.  I remember the organization being puzzled about this, and at the time, I didn't really understand what he was trying to "accomplish" by enforcing people to do nothing.  


However, the counter intuitive truth about doing nothing, is that so much can happen as a result.  He was right in attempting to encourage this practice because too often we go from one thing to the next without really having time to reflect and think.  


Reflection and thinking actually allows us to be more productive.  It also enables creativity and more strategic thinking.  It allows us to draw parallels and connections between seemingly unrelated thoughts or ideas.  It deepens our understanding.  It helps us drive our lives, both at work and at home, forward. 


I was again reminded of this last week when my daughter came home from school with a project.  The project was about exploration.  The children were encouraged to explore the world around them with all of their senses.  The directions for the project explained that in order to effectively explore, observations needed to be both quick and slow.  Idling was strongly encouraged. 


So this week during my push to do so many things,  I decided that my work would really be best served by clearing some parts of my calendar, idling a bit so that I could stare out of the window, and do nothing but reflect. Brilliance awaits.  


How about you, are you setting time aside to do nothing? 


Laura Lopez is an award-winning author of The Connected and Committed Leader.  She is a leadership and branding expert who has been featured on the Today Show, Latina Voices Smart Talk, Living Smart and Fox News.


In addition, her accomplishments have been highlighted in several business periodicals including  Personal Excellence, The Long Beach Business Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Latina Magazine, and Central Valley Business Times. Her articles on management and leadership are regularly seen in Leadership Excellence. 

Laura can be contacted via her Web site at:


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Laura Lopez
Laura Lopez & Company
(713) 868-5025
cell (713) 828-8829