“When it’s obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps” (Confucius).
With this title, this can be a bold claim. Most of the time, perseverance gives us everything. We believe we should never stop and keep going to get to our goals.
However, in some instances, this is similar to the bus that can’t drop below a certain speed or it will explode.
Nothing can get you nowhere, but the wrong course of action can take you further from where you want to be.
Doing Nothing Prevents Overthinking
Doing nothing prevents you from having that moment of panic when you move from one task to another with nothing short of a nonexistent transition.
“Ok, what do I do now” is what we ask ourselves every time we enter this situation.
What we don’t realize is our mind is building on it’s stress and in this process, is making each task consecutively more painful and with worse results.
When we overthink something like a simple to solve riddle, we might think we are getting close to the solution when we may actually be getting further away from it.
A fresh set of eyes will spot the solution to the riddle quickly because starting from the beginning may be closer to the solution than digging the hole deeper.
The fresh set of eyes is the one coming into the situation with energy and the understanding that you have to start simple to get to where you want to be.
Just because you have been productive doesn’t mean you are going far.
In situations like this, you can say delaying a start might make it easier to complete, for the same reason that luck plays into it.
Someone can be terrible at what they do and luck can bring them up. Someone trying to be productive and accomplish tasks as soon as possible may have had a better chance had they done it from another perspective which may not arise till after lunch.
The process for finding the solution to the riddle is on top of all the stress you have been piling up as you move from task to task.
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one, and in this case, doing nothing makes the simplest solution appear quicker.
Pressure Is Built By Not Having A Break
As I mentioned, we perform worse under pressure. I don’t mean pressure like time constraints which in some cases makes us work even harder with better results.
But the stress of doing it one after another can keep us from the correct path when we believe we are still in full on work mode.
We all need breaks and take breaks, but when we are too busy to take a break, we may be damaging our workflow more.
I experienced this today when trying to come up with a topic to write about.
Oftentimes my idea for an article won’t come until later and knowing that gives me the ability to say, “What I am doing may be pushing me further from where I want to be”. Forcing my work will make me pressured to complete it now and now may not always be the best answer.
When thinking, I knew I would be stuck on the same thing wasting more of my time, time which later in the day could have made writing easier and probably even faster (This is what I did, hence why I am talking about it).
Don’t mistake this for procrastination, I still tried. But when you are trying to do something and an hour goes by with no results and no distractions, it could be that you can’t work at that time.
Staying and pushing myself more and more would make me feel better at the end if it all gets done, but it may take more time doing that than doing it at a later time, when less stress is in place.
Nothing Gives Us Time To Prepare For Something
When we are doing nothing, we are thinking about what we are going to do.
Every time we relax and unwind, we are giving ourselves that release of stress, which may be obvious. But we are also mentally preparing to do the next thing.
When we do nothing, we feel unproductive and this may be a side effect from making the times when we are productive more meaningful.
Moving from one thing to another doesn’t give us that time to feel ready to work. We do one thing and move on to the next with the fatigue that came from the first. If we had just nothing’d until the fatigue went away, the headache goes down and we have taken the time to relax, when we start back up again, we will work better.
We take breaks because it helps us to refresh ourselves and what we are doing, where we are, and what we are about to do.
The sanity that is lost when trying to just push through the work and make it through the day may take more time than occasionally doing nothing.