Una's Blog


17 When did doing nothing become a bad thing?

graphic-1by Una Hearne.

‘What did you do at the weekend?’


‘Why? What’s wrong with you? Why weren’t you hiking/ biking/ going to the gym/ golfing/ running and out drinking and dancing till three in the morning?’

Why do we have to fill our time with doing to justify our existence?

If you have spent time doing nothing and it made you miserable, depressed, frustrated – then yes, I agree that was a waste of time. But if you have spent time doing nothing and it made you happy and relaxed – what could possibly be wrong with that? In our increasingly frantic world I think it is a fundamental skill to be able to do absolutely nothing for reasonable periods of time, and enjoy it.

We are meant to have a balance of work, rest and leisure; of interaction and alone time. The right balance is different for each of us, you are the only person qualified to judge the right balance for you. It’s up to you to notice what works for you, what makes you happy, and to do more of that.

‘There are no rules except the ones we make up.’ Wise words from my sister. A smattering of quotes on the subject of doing or not doing shows just how different people’s convictions and needs can be:

“If I’m not overloaded, I become depressed because I feel like I’m doing nothing with my life. So I never rest.” Mila Jovovich

“Do it now! can affect every phase of your life. …It helps you seize those precious moments that, if lost, may never be retrieved.” Napoleon Hill

“A man that is young in years may be old in hours, if he has lost no time.” Francis Bacon

Good lord I’m slightly exhausted just reading them! How about these:

“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.” Lin Yutang

“Work is not always required… There is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation are of which is now fearfully neglected.” George MacDonald

“Live in peace yourself and then you can bring peace to others – a peaceable person does more good than a learned one.” Thomas A Kempis

There is truth in all of them of course. This is why quotes are quoted so much. The important thing for you is to figure out your truth, your balance.

Take me for instance, I love my work, I enjoy socialising, but here’s my dirty little secret… I also enjoy my own company and slobbing around in my pyjamas doing absolutely nothing! Like for a whole day! Shock, horror, call the white coats! Actually – call them later, I’m having a nap now.



  1. Aisling Mooney
    25/04/2013 at 12:42 pm Reply

    Another great blog Una! I always enjoy reading your thoughts and with exams looming and a pretty hectic life, a course of antibiotics, I can’t wait to spend a day doing absolutely NOTHING! Have a good weekend whatever u decide to do. Best wishes Aisling

  2. Una
    16/05/2014 at 10:41 am Reply

    Thank you for your comment, much appreciated!

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