“I need to get a quick bite”

“I will send a quick text”

“I am crazy busy”

“I need to rush for a meeting”

“I need to quickly finish this”

Sounds like you?

We have laden our vocabulary with words like busy, quick, rush. In the process, we have created a really tight relationship with time. It seems to have conditioned our minds to the concept of busyness without us even realizing it. 

Now, neither are we raising quadruples nor are we working three shifts in a day. Yet, we are busy, awfully busy. So busy, that we fail to be aware of this busy trap we have fallen into? 

Busyness seems to have created a self-proclaimed importance in our eyes about ourselves and a perceived importance in the eyes of others. Everyone around us, who claims to be important is busy or do I say, everyone around us who is seemingly busy, is seemingly important. We take on more, for, that seems to make us more valuable. We have even led our children into this busy trap. They come from school and we send them to classes. We fill their days with work, so as to not let them be idle.

We dread the emptiness, the lack of busyness will bring. The emptiness of self esteem and self-respect, because in the process to play our part as being busy, we have subconsciously intertwined our self importance with the extent of our busyness. 

It seems like there is an existential reassurance in busyness.

I am busy, so I exist.

We have forgotten to have a spacious relationship with time. We have forgotten to just be with ourselves. There seems to be no comfort in our own company and so, we fill ourselves with the company of our work.

There are virtues that idleness brings for the brain. Neuroscience has proved that idleness can lead to more creativity, yet, here we are, staring at our screens, even in the toilet!!

Neuroscience has recently discovered that the brain is not inactive during idleness. In fact, recent research has shown spacing out actually supercharges your brain and leads to effectiveness and creativity. According to Andrew Smart, idleness is that potent tool that can lead to out of the box thinking.

Its been true for me, my best writing ideas come when I am running. My first entrepreneurial venture was born out of months of idleness, while traveling through the countryside.

Newton is believed to have had critical insights about gravity under an apple tree in his mother’s garden; and the Nobel-Prize-winning chemist Kary Mullis reported having a breakthrough during a late-night drive down a monotonous stretch of empty highway. Einstein seemed to have come up with his theory of relativity during his dull job as a patent clerk.

If you are convinced that a little idleness is good for you, here are three ways you can create idleness in your life:

1) Take A Deep Breath

For the next 10 days, schedule time for being mindful of your breath. Let your breath lead you in those moments to a space within that is way quieter than you think you are. Let it rest. Find that stillness, the peace and the solace that comes with it. Let yourself connect with you, such that the most beautiful space that exists within you becomes sacred and special and nothing to be afraid of.

2) Schedule Time For Idleness:

For the next 10 days, let your mind wander for just 10 minutes. Try not to focus and let your mind break free. Idleness doesn’t come easy. Our brain is conditioned for busyness. Just step out into the balcony and watch the world go by or watch the stars or just sit by the lake. Sometimes, I watch my children sitting idly and watching the ceiling. In those moments, they have asked me the most creative question born out of the idleness.

3) Create Space – Start Early and Sit Still:

Starting early will make the day will seem more spacious and suddenly you will find yourself having a lot of time to just relax. Schedule some time and a space for your early morning stillness routine. As you get out of bed, just get into the space where you are silent and still. A morning routine like this will naturally create a space for stillness and unclutter in your cluttered and busy day.

3) Unbusy the Busy – Travel Alone:

Traveling is the best way to let go of the busyness. Watch the scenery roll as you meander through the zig zagging road. Try and unplug from civilization and just exist. Go on a backpacking trip, do scuba diving. Let the busy be unbusy and just watch the clouds pass by or feel the touch of a blade or the wind on your face. 

Its high time we stop defining who we are by the very things the society has conditioned us into. For our own well being, and for all others around us, we need to have a spacious relationship with time and with our own selves. 

First published on:



  • 15 years of her life Shilpi had been a corporate professional trying to manage her mindfulness with the hardiness of the Finance and the transformation world. She has worked pan Asia and US. After realizing the serious lack of emotional intelligence and empathy in existing capitalistic models and leadership across companies, she quit her job where she worked as a transformation lead directly reporting to the CEO. She felt the major gap in organization stem from the gap in today's education in providing serious Social and Emotional Learning to children. As a Mindfulness practictioner she chose to integrate her learnings with SEL to bring it to education. Her endeavor, Fablefy aims at bringing Mindfulness superpower to children. Shilpi believes that stories connect and stories create. Using the power of storytelling she wants to bring bite sized animations and books that can be integrated into the school curriculum or a parent's day with their children. Her goal is to make Mindfulness accessible to communities at large anywhere, anytime in the globe. She is a mother of two and her children embody her spirit.