I Didn’t Do Anything Today!

didn't do anything today

“I didn’t do anything today!” I always end my day with this frustration. There is too little time and too much I want to achieve and too many people to see.

Before going to bed, I think about all the things I have not done: I did not practice my taichi, I did not practice calligraphy, I did not run, I did not write a blog post, I did not check in with my doctor, I did not reply to emails…

I live with fear that I’m wasting my time being ill, that people are passing me by every day, surpassing me, and they will get to where I want to be before me. I compare to the extreme and I beat myself up for not doing what everyone else is doing i.e. having a respected job, earning the big bucks I used to, and getting on with life. I fear I’m losing out on time and my relative youth (I think being 30 years old is very young against a backdrop of life expectancy at 100 years old…)

Comparison isn’t all that bad; it serves as a benchmark and can prompt improvement. I can see what others have done and learn from it. However, looking at others gave me an excuse to judge myself harshly, and criticize myself for not achieving the unreasonably high standards I set for myself. This militant expectation on myself is perhaps one big reason why I got sick in the first placemy determination and persistence exacerbated my perfectionism and pushed me over the edge.

I need an attitude change – instead of focusing on everything I have not done, it’s about time to concentrate on things I have done and celebrate my success.

Today I:

  • posted this blog post
  • wrote replies to a 5 readers
  • cooked some soup for dinner
  • walked my dog
  • did 5 minutes of taichi (ok I’m supposed to do 15 minutes…)
  • wrote in my journal
  • enjoyed watching a dumb TV show
  • read a few more pages of Alain de Botton’s “A Week at the Airport”
  • managed to run on the treadmill for 15 minutes without fainting
  • laughed
  • breathed
  • stayed alive

That’s all it takes. Another view on the same day.

Modesty and humility is one thing, for we do not want to become overly arrogant of our achievements. Nevertheless, our progress towards our personal goals and improvement must be acknowledged. Needless to say, there is always room for improvement, yet there is no reason to beat ourselves up over the progress we have not made to date.

Rather, a positive attitude and a simple pat on our own backs for the road already trodden can spur us on with energy and enthusiasm.

Why end the day with a frown and a groan, if we can do so with a smile and an acknowledgement towards the miles we’ve accomplished, and to look forward to even more miles to be conquered the following days?

No progress is ever too small to be celebrated.

What can you celebrate tonight before going to bed?

Photo by mark sebastian

54 thoughts on “I Didn’t Do Anything Today!”

  1. Oh, I know those thoughts so well. Recovering from anorexia comes with a lot of ups and downs and there are days when literally all I can manage to do is eat. This takes up so much of my strength and my energy that I cannot concentrate on anything else. I used to beat myself up because of that, especially when I heard comments about it from my mom or sister, but I have learned to not only accept those days, but to be proud of myself for actually managing to eat and not to fall back into destructive habits.

    Sometimes we simply have to be a bit kinder to ourselves.

    1. So true, Anne. It’s all about being kind to ourselves. Sometimes we create and put ourselves into such hard schedules, circumstances, challenges that we quite forget we are alive. And when it gets too heavy to keep on our heads, we kind of procrastinate and postpone. Kindness might really help!

    2. Hi Anne-Sophie

      Hi again :) Indeed, to be kind to ourselves is key. It’s strange, I find it so hard to be kind to myself and recognize my progress in recovery. I’m learning everyday. I’m proud of you too that you are not falling back into destructive habits, AND helping others to manage their challenges. That’s a lot!!!

      Noch Noch

  2. I wonder how it feels when we actually come out of this thought of “not doing anything” in our everyday lives. When we haven’t wrote a blog post for say 10 days at a stretch and suddenly something strikes and you post something amazing. The feeling is the most amazing thing that can happen to anyone out there. It feels lighter, softer and life feels on track again.

    When these things happen, I stop wasting time and find friends to share what they have to say. It simply makes me more instinctive and brings me back on track.

    1. Hi Jaky

      Good point! It’s true, it feels amazing when we do something that strikes us after a time lag. And I write fervently. I suppose there’s a up and there’s a down. But definitely helps get me back on track

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here with me!

      Noch Noch

      1. Hi guys, I think this post resonates with many people – the ones that want to achieve something in their life! When this happens to me I use my three point rule: 1. Gratitude – I become grateful for what IS, 2. Acceptance – I accept what IS, 3. Timing – timing is always perfect, so, when you do that thing, it’s the perfect time to have done that thing. By using this simple rule I can quickly get out of the state of beating myself up and get into the state of ‘allowing’ what IS. Stu :)

        1. Hi Stuart

          That’s a great 3-point guide. Gratitude is always important I find, for whatever befalls, for it allows us to embrace and accept life as it is. Thanks for sharing this with all of us :)

          Noch Noch

  3. Only a few pages of Alain’s book? Haha, how’s that even possible? It takes me lots of effort before i manage to put the book down and do the tings i’m supposed to do :P

  4. There will never be enough time to do everything that you want to do in life. This is why a little acceptance goes a long way. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

  5. With today´s blog you totally hit the target..
    Thank you, that made my day much better.
    Now for a few pages in my book and then for a good sleep.
    Cheers Bernard

  6. Another perspective on all this is that some days, quite literally doing nothing can be liberating. It becomes truly liberating when you can end the day saying that I did nothing, and you know what, I am happy about that.

    Some days its not about what you do accomplish, but about what you do not.

    I didn’t get caught in a traffic jam
    I didn’t hang with the masses at the mall
    I didn’t rush to and fro
    But I still lived!!


  7. Wow! This is just the thing I needed to read now! I’m so harsh with myself, I make myself sick with all the things I didn’t do and how I am such a procrastinator that I fail to acknowledge the things I’ve actually done. I agree, unreasonably comparing yourself to others can sometimes push you over the edge and really take the life out of you – I always try to think – No one is worse than me, no one is better than me because I am me and that is a unique person who cannot be compared, much like every other person cannot be compared.
    I am going to try to think of some things I have and am doing from now on.
    Thank you for sharing this Noch Noch! You’ve made my day!

    1. Hi Smriti

      Oh I’m happy to hear that!! We all unfortunately, are too hard on ourselves at times, and we forget that, thinking we need to keep achieving more and more and more. We need to give ourselves a pat on the back indeed

      So dont’ forget that, and if you do – come back here!

      NOch Noch

  8. Love this blog – came at just the right time. I am feeling exactly the same – felt like i am in a deep rut with no escape and wonder how I got there in the first place. Your blog reminds me that I have accomplish things, I have travelled quite a distance in my journey and that every little steps are to be celebrated as a step closer to destiny. TQ for the timely reminder. :-)

    1. Hi Charis

      That’s great to know! I’m sure you have come a long way on whatever path you are on. I have too, but I forget and we go back into a rut again. Yes, please celebrate what you have accomplished, I think it will give energy for all the other things we want to do as well!
      Baby steps :)

      Noch Noch

  9. WOW….that is me!!!!! Or for a lot of it, was me… I am gaining my health back slowly, and some of my life. But it is a daily struggle, and I still have many of those days, despite my best efforts to be strong, positive, encouraged and spiritual. But no matter what tomorrow brings, I will continue to strive to reach that peace, happiness, well health and possibly wealth. Not to say rich…just able to live again with a peace about my finances and future.

    1. Hi Keisha

      Glad to hear your strength and health is coming back. It’s a challenging road to recovery. But we can do it. I’m touched by how you said that no matter what tomorrow brings, we can still strive for the peace inside us

      Take care dear
      Noch Noch

  10. Attitude is everything, they say.

    Thanks for the suggestion to take some time to sit back and celebrate the life I *did* live instead of the one I wished I had (or thought I should have).

    The life I live in the present moment is the only one I have. Honoring and celebrating that is the best use of my time. The more it is celebrated, the more it expands; and the more it is honored, the more it becomes fulfilling.

    Brilliant work on this one.

    1. Hi Steve

      yes, sometimes it’s good to focus on the “now” so to speak, and celebrate it, because like you said, it’s the only one we have now and it’s a beautiful way of putting it, the more we celebrate, the more it expands, instead of thinking of all the things we don’t have

      Noch Noch

  11. That is quite a list of things you have done, it is too easy to focus on the negatives isn’t it. My problem too. I like that author. I too will think of the things I have done today as well, thankyou for your help. Reading your blog positive number one and so on. Smile.

  12. Hey really great stuff! Its all about perspective. I especially loved what you said at the end,
    “No progress is ever too small to be celebrated.”

    I myself am trying to create a challenge website ( http://www.monthlychange.com/ ), where I offer 3 new challenges (Charity, Community, and Personal) every month. I just started last month, and its been a rough start, but I’m encouraged by your blog.


    1. Hey Chris

      Good stuff on your challenges. Hope you keep them coming and hang on in there with developing your blog. I started mine a year ago and it’s been a slow start, but I remember to give myself a pat on the back for what I have already achieved with it :)

      Good luck!
      Noch Noch

  13. This is an excellent article. I find it strange – this feeling that we can never do enough. It is very deflating and in a way robs us of our motivation. I love doing great work, but when I feel it can never be enough, I can feel my energy leaving me.

    I suspect that this is partly because our system values quantity over quality and those values get transferred to us and we have internalized them

    It takes courage to stand up to this mindset and just be a human being doing a good job having a life.

    1. Hi Maria

      I always used to let this deflation get the better of me and hence get unmotivated for anything else I have to do, even with getting better from depression. I feel like I am still in a rut and why I’m still not completely better to lead a “normal” life? But then I forget I have come a long long way from being suicidal everyday to being able to write and share my thoughts with others and being opened with my experience.

      So I hope you will find solace in whatever you have achieved to date. And to value quality and efforts as well instead of quantity. You have the courage to state this, so I’m sure you have the courage to do it :)

      Noch Noch

  14. This post made my day! I am constantly comparing myself to others and get frustrated that I do not meet their level of accomplishment. Staying positive is often very difficult and something that I need to focus on! Thank you for reminding me to focus on all the things that I do accomplish in the day! :-)

    1. Learning how to stop comparing to others is crucial thing if we want to be successful. But it’s so damn hard:) I try this a lot, and I can say for sure that the parts of my life when I competed against myself, as opposed to competing, or comparing to others, are the ones in which I have been most productive and successful. I love when I see things like this article that point this out for me. :-)

      1. Noch Noch | be me. Be natural

        Hi Nancy,

        Yes comparing got the better of me. I always have to remind myself to stop doing that. Hope you can focus on yourself too. We have to keep reminding each other

        Noch Noch

  15. Great article :)

    It points that there is much going in our life, but we simply have to see it and acknowledge it. Once that is done we will in turn start to do more and more different achievements, even if that is on the small scale. But I personally believe that small scale success shapes our mindset in order to achieve success on a long scale too.

    I practice this technique of recognizing at least five things that made my life better during the day before I go to bed. That way I always appreciate even the small things that I do, and that allows me to do much more.
    Once again, great article :)

    1. Noch Noch | be me. Be natural

      Hi Slavko

      Thanks. That’s a good tip, to list 5 things that made your life better. It’s good to appreciate the small things :)

      Noch Noch

  16. Oh dear I struggle with the same thing!! But I am also adding to that misery – all those things I have planned to do years ago and never managed to.. and yes I totally agree that we should celebrate but at the end of the day negative thinking always prevails! but its way better to know i’m not by myself and there are many others feeling as bad..

  17. Beautiful post, Noch Noch. You’re absolutely right. If we can refocus on the small things we ARE doing, rather than the things we aren’t, motivation will build and we will be more likely to take more of those small steps every day. And that’s all we need to do to accomplish what we want in life: small steps. :)

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