What Do You Do When You Have Nothing To Do?

Ever look back on your day an wonder why you didn’t work on what you really want in life? Where did the time actually go? What did you accomplish? It’s easy to loose track of the goals we actually want to achieve when we are living in an IRL and a digital world littered with distractions.

Those distractions typically takeaway from the things we truly want in our lives.. instead of work, chores and exercise. That is because hopefully those tasks are automatic habits. After all, we have no “choice” in those tasks, they pay our bills, organize our lives and keep us healthy.

But when was the last time you asked yourself this:

More likely than not, your wasting minutes in your days between tasks just like the rest of us. And as author James Clear points out above, those minutes add up to meaningful time.

Rather than automatically opting for your phone when you have nothing to do, he suggests creating a default task. That task could be anything from cleaning out your inbox to starting on a short story. It’s not about what you do. It is about having a productive task to replace your not so great automatic responses.

No, you won’t be able to accomplish your goal in one day with this tactic. But you will notice over time that you have “nothing to do” more than you think. When you start to replace those few minutes here and few minutes there with a a default task, over time you will make meaningful progress.

After I listened to this episode of the Chase Jarvis Live Show, I put Clear’s tactic to the test. To give you perspective, I found I was loosing nearly 30+ minutes a day. I found spare minutes between meetings, when I took my dog out, when I did laundry or between steps of cooking.

What was previously unfocused, typically screen time or doom scrolling time, turned into productive time. It not only helped me avoid the anxiety that comes with opening your news app or social media platforms, but it replaced my “nothing to do” time with progress I could be proud of.

About this episode: Our founder Chase Jarvis sits down with James Clear to discuss tiny changes we can make to achieve remarkable results. Clear’s book, Automatic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way To Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones has sold over a million copies and is one of our founder‘s absolute favorites.

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Kate Dessa has been writing about culture, creativity and entrepreneurship for over 12 years – getting her start when magazines were something you still held in your hand. When she is not writing, producing or creating you can usually find her eating. Find her across platforms @katedessa