3 Ways to Do Nothing – Creating Life’s White Space

In his blog minimalchanges.com, fellow Filipino minimalist Kevin Olega talked about The Sweetness of Doing Nothing.

I wondered when was the last time I did exactly that – nothing.

I’ve already learned how to simplify my priorities and only do what really matters, but being a family man, I feel like I’m always doing something.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, and I love it this way. It’s just that I’m left in awe about the idea of doing nothing.

During free time at home, what I usually do is read, play with my son and daughter, chat with my wife, or watch a movie. I’d like to try doing nothing for a change. I then realized that in order to experience doing nothing, I’d have to make time for it.

In visual art design, there is a concept called “White Space,” which is a portion of a page left “white” or unmarked. The term arose from graphic design practice where printing processes generally use white paper. In other words, white space is an empty or blank space.

In design, it is used to improve the legibility of a page and to give it a classic, elegant, luxurious, and simple appearance. It is also sometimes used to give more focus or emphasis on a subject or to give more breathing room and balance to the design.

Here is an example of an effective use of white space taken from alistapart.com:

The right one used the concept of white space in the design.

Can you see the difference? Or would I rather ask, can you feel the difference?

That’s what white space does to a design. Less white space = cheap, crude, awkward, and crowded. More white space = luxurious, sophisticated, elegant, and simple.

The same principle can be applied to life.

By having white space in our life, we create breathing room, balance, focus on what’s important, and a quietness that we cannot possibly have with an over-“stuffed” life.

So, how do I plan to create white space and do nothing?

Here are some ideas I have right now:

1. Sit still. I plan to do this every morning as I start my day. I’ll just sit silently for maybe 5 minutes. I’ll do this with the basics: be still, breathe, and pray. 

2. Reflect. This can also be done while staying still for a moment, whether sitting or lying down. An opportunity to think about how I’m doing with my spiritual growth and how I’m handling my life as a faithful steward of the Lord’s blessings. 

3. Appreciate. Just appreciate where I am, what I have, what I can see, hear, or touch at the moment. Just be thankful to God that I’m alive and breathing, and am loved and am in love. 

I know, these aren’t exactly doing nothing. But I think when someone will ask me what I’m doing while in the middle of those activities, my answer will be, well, nothing.

Do you have some ideas? You can share them in the comments!