Practice Not Doing, And Do More

Want to know what drains your energy more than anything else?…

It’s thinking.  Believe it or not, your brain uses lots of energy when you’re thinking.  I don’t mean the kind of thinking you do when you are focused on what you are doing, and thinking about the best way to go about it.  Of course that takes mental energy, but I’m talking about the endless internal dialogue that’s always running in the back of your mind as you go about your day.

It’s the thinking you do while you’re doing everything else on “auto pilot’.  Ever drive home from the grocery store, but don’t remember any of the driving?  Unfortunately we do that all the time, and it’s how lots of accidents happen.

You’re driving home from work or wherever, and you’re thinking about what your mother said last week, or about what you are going to say to so and so next week.  The mind gets lost in it’s endless internal dialogue, and much of life goes by without you ever seeing it.  Everything is always the same, never new, and interesting.  You eat dinner, watch the same old TV shoes, go to bed at the same time each night, endlessly repeating the same old routines.  Always tired.

Want to know how to have a lot more energy?…

Focus your mind only upon the task at hand — what you are doing.  Don’t think about things that have nothing to do with the moment.

Many people think that they have to always be thinking about things or their whole world will crumble.  It won’t.  All of that useless thinking, only sucks your energy.  If you’re worried about forgetting important things, make lists.  When you are focused on something, and a thought about some important event, that you need to remember crosses your mind, write it down. Then pay attention to what you’re doing.

It’s not easy.  When you’ve developed a habit of indulging in an endless internal dialogue, your mind keeps wanting to slip back into it.  There’s a simple way to stop it…

Break Routines

Routines support the internal dialogue.  Doing things on “auto pilot” allows you to go around talking to yourself — which is really what you are doing.  It’s not much different from the guys sitting around on park benches talking to people who aren’t there.  The only difference is that no one can hear you doing it.  Thank God for that!

The ancient Toltecs developed a practice they called, “not doing”.  Not doing is the perfect thing to silence your internal dialogue.  Before I tell you how to do it, let’s look at some of the benefits?…

  • Life will seem interesting and new again.
  • You’ll have increased perception since you won’t be lost somewhere in your mind.
  • You will become much more efficient since you will actually be paying attention to what you are doing.  The quality of your work will improve.
  • You won’t forget things as easily, since you will be writing them down instead of just thinking about them.
  • Others will perceive you as having more presence.
  • You’ll have more time to do things you enjoy, and more energy to do it with.
  • As a result of all these accomplishments, your self esteem will soar.

Not doing is simply not doing things the same way you have always done them.  It forces you to pay attention.  For example…

Examine your life, and look for routines, then find other things you can do to replace them, or simply do them differently.  Do you always watch TV after dinner?  Read a good novel instead.  Do you always eat breakfast before you take a shower in the morning?  Swap them around, and remember to pay attention to the showering and eating.  Don’t get lost in your mind.  You’ll save on hot water too!

Do you tend to eat the same things?  Try something new.  Make healthier choices.

Instead of Facebooking, go for a walk, or do some yoga.  Look carefully for all the ways in which you can practice not doing.  Or, as the Toltec’s say, “stalk yourself”.  Stalk yourself like a jaguar stalking it’s pray.  Pay attention to what you are doing.


Sky Abelar is a Reiki Master Teacher, and the creator of the Self Esteem Guru website. If you are interested in learning other self esteem activities and exercises similar to “not doing”, be sure to check out her site.



Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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