Monday, 3 December 2012

The Do Nothing Challenge

MoCh - Challenge #8 November 2012 - The Do Nothing Challenge

In today's world it is hard doing nothing.

The Challenge
The challenge was to do nothing for thirty minutes once a day. Where "do nothing" meant to lay still on the back, staring at the ceiling without doing anything but breathing. No playing with your phone, no listening to the radio, not closing your eyes, no nothing. It might sound easy, however it was far from it.

The Background
As mentioned last month I chose this challenge as a counterbalance to all the stress and choices modern day life brings. I'm constantly being busy, having a billion things to do, and never having time to get bored. And boredom might sometimes be good. I got the idea for this challenge watching a TED Talk.

The Result
On beforehand I guessed that "The Go To Class Challenge" would be a lot harder than this challenge where the goal was to do nothing. I was wrong. This has been the hardest challenge so far, and I failed badly. In 30 days I only managed to "do nothing" six times. That tells a lot about me and my life. Of course, as I have been extremely busy with moving houses I have had a good excuse for having less time than normal. However, I've still had time for training. It comes down to prioritising. Below is the notes I made after each of the "do nothing" events.

Friday 2nd of Nov : in car : 1630-1700
Started the challenge one day late. I decided to perform "the do nothing challenge" in the car after work. I lowered my seat and tried doing nothing. However, I was extremely tired from having exercised for almost seven (!) hours the day before, and hence I didn't manage to do nothing. In stead I managed to fell asleep, just after a couple of minutes.

Saturday 3rd of Nov : floor at home : 1750-1820
Realised how hard this challenge is. First time I looked at the watch to check on the time only three minutes had passed, and it felt like an eternity. Doing nothing was almost impossible. Without realising I started whistling, stretching, looking around, twinning my thumbs and so on. I had to force myself to lay still. However when laying completely still I got immensely tired. My eyelids got heavy. I struggled to stay awake. After a period that felt like a day I checked the watch again. Only 20 minutes had passed. The last 10 minutes became a fight. Frightening how hard it was to not do anything. It tells much about me, and my life. I'm at all times doing something. If I lay still I read a book, or listen to the radio or a podcast. If I sit I play with my phone or tablet, or am in front of my computer. I never doing nothing. This monthly challenge might be the hardest challenge of them all.

Sunday 4th of Nov : floor at home : 2050-2120
Went slightly better today than yesterday. Was not that tired, even though I a couple of times struggled not to fall asleep. It was hard laying completely still though, and I spent much of the time thinking of a game concept I have (a game with the working title k44). Planning something, in my mind, made the 30 minutes a lot easier. However this was changing the rule. I should not spend the time planning. I should do nothing but letting my mind wandering (avoiding mind wandering completely must be impossible). The plan is to force myself to get bored.

Thursday 8th of Nov : floor at home : 2055-2125
For the first time I managed to relax quite well, and just let my thoughts drift. I almost fell asleep a couple of time, but managed to stay awake. Today's "do nothing" was actually quite nice.

Tue 13th of Nov :  floor at home : 22:25 - 22:55
Once more it went OK, where I managed to relax pretty well.

Sun 25th of Nov : floor at home in my new apartment : 20:05-20:25
After a lot of stress lately, and having done my 29th move, I was finally relaxed enough to do another "do nothing". Managed to relax quite well.

Fri 30th of November : in bed : 2130-2200
Last day of the month and I managed to do a final "do nothing". Had a few things to many going on in my head though for relaxing completely.

The December Challenge
Another month has started and another challenge likewise. My new challenge is called "The One Compliment A Day Challenge". The result of the challenge will be posted in a month.
[Update 6th of Dec : December challenge went down the drain. It'll be a challenge free month, unless I come up with a shorter challenge.]

Previous Challenges
Below is a list of the challenges I've done so far.
Challenge #0 : December 2011 : Rejected by Seven
Challenge #1 : April 2012 : The 10 Words Challenge
Challenge #2 : May 2012 : The Less Social, More Sleep Challenge
Challenge #3 : June 2012 : The Leave Phone Home Challenge
Challenge #4 : July 2012 : The Read Every Day Challenge
Challenge #5 : August 2012 : The Photo Poetry Challenge
Challenge #6 : September 2012 : The Go To Class Challenge
Challenge #7 : October 2012 : The Call Grandma Every Day Challenge
Challenge #8 : November 2012 : The Do Nothing Challenge

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