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When Doing Nothing is the Best Action

Illinois issued a stay-at-home order this weekend to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Anticipating this, I had already sent everyone home the week before at work, so this was no surprise.

I'm one of those guys that is always on the go. Beyond work, I've got breakfast meetings several times a week. Nearly every lunch hour has an activity like going to the gym or Toastmasters scheduled, and with five kids, I've got events most nights. Doing nothing is not exactly in my DNA.

Doing Nothing May be Your Best Choice

Working from home with all of my normal activities canceled has given me some time to think, and one thing I've been considering is whether doing nothing is a bad thing.

The conclusion I came to is that sometimes doing nothing is the best action you can take.

If you are facing a virus that is rapidly spreading, doing nothing outside the house beyond walking the dog is your best option. When you stay at home, nothing happens, and that's the point.

Man sitting on rocker doing nothing
Enjoying time at home
Photo by Ian Noble on Unsplash

Doing Nothing Often Means Nothing Changes

The key to knowing whether or not doing nothing is your best option is to consider it as an option.

If your business is rapidly going in the direction you want it to go, for example, you'd be silly to change what you're doing. Doing nothing different might be your best option in that circumstance.

If your business is not where you want it to be, then doing nothing almost guarantees that it will stay that way. You'd be silly not to make some changes in that case.

Make Sure You Are Making a Conscious Choice

The biggest question is whether or not you're making the decision to do nothing consciously or not.

It would be easy for me to give up on my physical health because I don't have access to my personal trainer and do nothing while under stay-at-home orders, but that's not a decision I am ready to make. Instead, I pulled back out my old Total Gym and have been working up a sweat nearly every night to stay in shape.

Doing nothing is the best decision sometimes, but make sure you are consciously making that decision! If you don't make a decision, then you are making the decision to do nothing by default.

Stay safe out there! If you are looking for some ideas of things to do while you're stuck in the house, be sure to check out “8 Productive Things You Can Do While Quarantined.”

Don Smith

Don Smith is a business coach with decades of experience. Happily married with five children, he lives in Springfield, Illinois. To work with Don, please click here.