An Unproductive Day

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Snow Buddha

The forecast was for snow — not just inches of white stuff, but a winter storm with high winds — a blizzard. There were TV lists of school closings, and recommendations to stay home, and to limit travel to emergencies. Supermarket parking lots filled as people stocked up for a day inside. And me? I planned to do absolutely nothing but watch nature perform. And I hoped to enjoy it from the cozy comfort of a chair near the window.

Sometimes our brains need care and restoration — a day of rest — an unproductive day. We're busy with scheduled appointments and good intentions pressing to be completed. Is there room for an unproductive day — a day with no agenda, a day completely dedicated to being, rather than doing? Here was one. And it felt good. I was warm and safe and grateful. The internal quiet of my mind was only interrupted by the external sights and sounds of nature. My window on the world presented the weather and its effect, moment by moment.

It was an amazing show — a tour de force with gales of snow, sleet, and rain. True to my inclination, I did nothing but observe. A long list of “to dos” went undone: an abandoned tax return; an incomplete presentation; a forgotten project; and more. Yet as pressing as the list was, it dropped from my thoughts.

Mesmerized, I watched the swirling snow melt into sheets of rain, then refreeze into bouncing pellets of hail. The force of 50 mile-an-hour winds tested the flexibility and strength of the tall, swaying trees. And I had a front row seat.

I felt rested and rejuvenated. And my values shifted — moved by the tranquility I found in the midst of the storm. Like you, I’m skilled at being productive. My busy schedule attests to it. Can I be as skilled at being unproductive? I'm using my calendar — my tool for productivity, to schedule unproductive days. That makes me giggle inside!

I've entered "UNPRODUCTIVE DAY" once a month during April, May, and June. I'm enjoying the idea so much that I'm considering increasing it to one unproductive day a week during July and August.  

Suddenly this seems familiar. "And on the seventh day, you shall rest.”