The Big Payoff of Doing “NOTHING”

If you are like me, you are hair-on-fire busy and need to be productive at all times. The thought of unproductive downtime is frightening when your to-do list is so abundant but you could be surprised how productive doing nothing can be. For me it led to several worthwhile epiphanies:

– There is no award for being jam-packed busy.
– Being busy does not mean you are happy or even productive.
– If as individuals, we do not claim “downtime” others will find something for us to do.

Have you ever experienced such a spectacular day, that you feel like you could live in the moment forever? I had a day like that recently. What made it so special was that it was totally unexpected, as I had huge intentions of having a very get-it-done type of day.  

Instead, I did NOTHING. 

 It has been a busy and challenging time for me personally and professionally. I always feel pressure to maximize my time and be productive. Getting things done gives me a huge sense of satisfaction. I am laser-focused on growing my non-profit SheCAN! and having this be the first year we are not in the red, which is a reason to celebrate in itself!

I know what you are thinking: instinctually the thought of doing nothing is frightening. But greatness, my friends, does not happen between meetings, and these appointments usually do not produce excellence on their own.  

I undertook many initiatives over the last six months to diversify income streams for my non-profit SheCAN!, including writing articles and blogs, self-publishing a book (after a trainwreck run-in with a traditional publisher), and public speaking for profit to help with my non-profit’s organizational costs. Not to mention the responsibilities that come with being the founder/CEO of an international membership program. Just thinking of it all makes me exhausted!

In a world that has turned so upside down, it is refreshing to know that I can make my own “wow” moments by doing nothing at all. I realize that greatness does not happen when it is sandwiched between many appointments and mundane tasks. So why is it we spend most of our days responding to social media, emails, or are in meetings? If the good stuff does not happen when in between, it makes sense to do more of NOTHING.  

When you let your mind wander and relax, you live in the present. You can also start to dream, which is where big ideas come from! So, why don’t we make more time for the good stuff?  

If you want to start living a more mindful, thriving life, schedule NOTHING into your calendar, and keep these things in mind:

– Calendar zero can be as little as 4 hours a month.
– Big ideas do not come in between meetings.
– All batteries need to be recharged at one point or another!

Schedule it onto your calendar—a big fat morning of zilch. In fact, I double dare you to do it once every couple of weeks! I guarantee that you will feel glorious and refreshed when you do, decadent and strategic. Yes. Strategic! Because when you are well-rested, you will be more prepared for whatever comes your way.


Peggy Sullivan is a women’s leadership speaker, mindset expert, and founder of the nonprofit organization, SheCAN!. She is also the author of the book, “Happiness is Your Responsibility”. Peggy is a strong advocate of utilizing the power of happiness to achieve personal success, professional growth, and increased health and wellness. She has won numerous awards and honors, including the 2019 Woman in Leadership Award from New York State. Peggy has also been featured in Forbes Women, FOX, and BloomTV, and has presented and consulted worldwide for organizations such as Bank of America, Blue Cross BlueShield, Ingram Micro, and WomanUp Conferences. You can connect with Peggy on LinkedIn and Instagram, and purchase “Happiness is Your Responsibility” here.