WHEN THE BEST THING TO DO IS NOTHING AT ALL

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Have you ever been overwhelmed by something to the point that it freezes you? You’re not alone. It happens to everyone, especially when you’re on information overload. If you reach this point, the best thing that you can do is to do nothing at all. I wonder if you experienced this on your digital marketing path.

When I first started, it seemed there was an insurmountable amount of new information that I had to learn and apply quickly. There was an unfamiliar language, digital talk: PPC, CTR, CPC, CPL, SEO, RSS, Annotations, Cards, meta-tags, ad impression, landing pages, auto-responder's, syndication, just to name a few. I had to inform myself about the competition swiftly, read books, attend workshops, watch educational programs, create videos, write blogs, place ads and analyze information.

I’ll admit that the first several weeks left me dizzy and wondering if I had just created a lot of unnecessary work for myself. I was under the impression that digital marketing was supposed to provide me with loads of free time. It turns out that it does. I was doing all the right activities but what I wasn’t doing is giving myself a break. If you’re a seasoned online marketer you probably know that once you get past the steep initial learning curve, it gets a lot easier. If you’re struggling, like I was in the beginning, let me offer some words of encouragement. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best thing that you can do is nothing at all.

Has anyone ever told you to go take a nap or go to sleep and tomorrow things will be better?

That’s exactly what you should do if you’ve reached a point of information saturation. Sleep or meditation are two of the best things that you can do for optimal performance. When you sleep, you give your brain the opportunity to rest. This is why when you wake up, you feel recharged. In either of these states, the information that has entered your brain has the opportunity to “simmer.” What had already been programmed inside your brain feels like a brand new idea. It isn’t new, it’s been there all along. By shutting down, you gave the information or idea a chance to reveal itself in a new light.

Ever wonder why spiritual masters meditate and why they accomplish so much? Today everyone suffers from information overload. Add to this all the new information that you need to process in the beginning of any career. You need to work efficiently and expediently and your aim is to produce quality instead of quantity. When you insist on packing in more without taking a break, the information is going in but you’re not processing it well. Your brain eventually shuts down in the form disillusion, exhaustion or surrender -- all of which means you’re not accomplishing your goals. It’s akin to having too many things plugged into a circuit that can cause an overload and shutting down of the system. Before this happens, just walk away for a few minutes, a few hours or a few days.

I had to do this early on in my career. For the first few weeks I was on a track with all the activities needed to hit the ground running but in my heart I knew that I was compromising quality. I stayed on course for several weeks but eventually I hit a wall. Fortunately I had great mentors who reminded me about the importance of recharging. So before you get to this stage, take a break. Walk away and come back when you’ve replenished yourself so you can give your best to others.

So next time you need to do nothing, what will nothing look like?

I hope I’m clear about doing nothing. By this, I don’t mean to go off to become a spiritual yogi in the Himalayas but to do something that will relax you. It should be something totally different from your work, something that will give you relief and is close to doing nothing. While everyone thinks of going to the beach and just sunbathing as one way to do this, here’s one great activity, which I just learned about. It’s a fantastic treatment called flotation therapy. It sounds heavenly. This kind of cure entails your floating alone for about one hour in total darkness in a large pod of extremely salty mineral water. The high salinity keeps you floating on top of the water and extracts toxins from your body. This is the reason so many people go to the Dead Sea for treatment. In the case of flotation therapy, the quiet, dark room also provides sensory deprivation, the same thing that happens when you sleep or meditate.

In what other ways can you do nothing at all?

Listening to the sound of the ocean or watching the lapping of waves is about as close to doing nothing as it gets. Soft and rhythmical ocean waves have a lulling effect and they’re known to alter the brain’s wave patterns to produce relaxation. There’s also strong evidence that watching and listening to ocean waves reduces stress and hypertension. When was the last time you watched the sun going down over a gentle sea? Remember how that made you feel? Take time to just lie on the beach, whatever time of day it is.

The idea of doing nothing at all seems counter intuitive in today’s over-scheduled world but the importance is tantamount to Gandhi practicing days of silence, meditating, walking and in the process toppling down an empire. In other words, if you want to accomplish big things, sometimes you just need to do nothing. If you find yourself overwhelmed in your online marketing path, chill out. Take long deep breaths, relax your muscles from head to toe and keep calm. Find a quiet place and close your eyes for a few minutes. The answers will reveal themselves and your productivity will increase beyond your expectations.

Your efficiency will surprise you and you'll have a lot more free time to do other things. More importantly what you do will be quality work. What seemed difficult you will accomplish with ease. This is the power of quieting your mind. When you’re ready to start back up again, you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you will be and how much more enthusiasm you’ll have for your work. For the sake of those you serve, never feel guilty about doing nothing at all. ROXANA BOWGEN Partner DEA/SFM A Supportive Community of Digital Marketers Digital Marketing Consultant Author, Agapanthus Rising “My mission is to help expansion-minded entrepreneurs create and build their dream lifestyles and careers with a digital marketing laptop business.”

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