Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Be productive by doing “nothing!” What does this book author say about living your best life? [Friday: Mindfulness by Miles]

November 3, 2023

Miles Everson’s The Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson

Happy Friday! 

Welcome to today’s edition of “Mindfulness by Miles.” 

We’re excited to share with you an awesome health and mindfulness tip in today’s article. Every Friday, our goal is to help you improve both your work life and personal life through the topics we talk about. 

For now, we’ll feature another insightful book. 

Keep reading to learn how you can break away from overworking, overdoing, and underliving. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Mindfulness by Miles  

Many work feverishly to make themselves happy… but why do some still feel “miserable” despite accomplishing A LOT? 

According to several studies, despite people’s constant search for new ways to optimize their bodies and minds for peak performance, many of them are working more instead of less, living harder not smarter, and becoming more lonely and anxious. 

They strive for the “absolute best” in every aspect of their lives, ignoring what they do well naturally and reaching for a bar that keeps rising higher and higher. So, the question remains: 

“Why do we measure our time in terms of efficiency instead of meaning? Why can’t we just take a break? 

In the book, “Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving,” author and award-winning journalist Celeste Headlee illuminates a new path forward, seeking to institute a global shift in people’s thinking so they can stop sabotaging their well-being, put work aside, and start living instead of just “doing.” 

Photo from Goodreads

According to Headlee, lots of people are searching for external solutions to an internal problem. This means they won’t find what they’re searching for in diets, productivity apps, or the latest self-improvement schemes. 

However, there’s good news: All is not lost—people just need to learn how to make time for themselves and redefine what is truly worthwhile.

Mastering The Art of Doing “Nothing” 

Pulling together threads from history, neuroscience, social science, and paleontology, Headlee examines long-held assumptions about time use, idleness, hard work, and even people’s ultimate goals in life. 

Her research reveals that most of the habits individuals cling to are doing them harm. These routines have just been developed recently in human history, which means they can, and must, be broken. Headlee believes it’s time to reverse the trend that’s making people sadder, sicker, and less productive. Instead, individuals should return to a way of life that allows them to THRIVE.

So, what can you actually do to break free from that vicious cycle? 

The key lies in embracing what makes you human: Your creativity, social connections, ability for reflective thought, and capacity for joy. Headlee’s strategies will allow you to regain control over your life, such as by:

  • Increasing your time perception and determining how your hours are being spent
  • Stopping and/or avoiding comparing yourself with others
  • Investing in quality idle time like taking a hot bath or listening to music
  • Spending face-to-face time with family and friends

In other words, Headlee states if you want to be truly happy, you first have to rediscover the joys of leisure

Let’s take a look at 3 important lessons from the book: 

  1. Humans’ fixation with efficiency can be partly traced back to the development of social media

Headlee believes social media is a tool that can make or break a person’s habits and views in life. When used properly, this tool can be of great help. However, part of today’s busyness problem is that social media allows you to see the accomplishments of others and makes you want to “keep up with the Joneses.” Instead of just keeping up with a few friends and neighbors, social media makes you feel like you need to keep up with the whole world. 

No wonder people’s ambitions keep getting loftier!

If you’ve found that you are constantly adding to your to-do list or are hoping for more hours in the day, chances are you’re probably becoming part of the “cult of efficiency.” In this cult, the busier you are, the better… yet it’s only getting worse.

Headlee says this “increase in efficiency” has only been more beneficial for bosses than actual workers. With inflation in the scene, workers aren’t making much more comparatively, but bosses are getting richer than ever.

  1. Preoccupation with efficiency can make you miss out on meaningful connections and feel guilty about leisure

Headlee says the shift from pay per task to pay per hour also had a dramatic psychological effect on many workers. This is because when people are paid for each hour, they see time in a different way, especially time off.

Even people who don’t work a 9-to-5 job and have a more flexible schedule have a hard time feeling okay with taking a break. This leaves even less time for leisure or relaxation, and the effects can be profound. 

One of these effects is a lack of human connection, and its consequences can be very negative. For one, it’s emotionally painful. Additionally, it can increase your risk of heart attacks and cancer, as well as decrease your lifespan.

  1. A few simple changes to your lifestyle can help you slow down and recover your leisure time

Doing “nothing” is surprisingly hard to do. However, one way you can make more room for this is to improve your perception of time. According to studies, people with better time perception are less overwhelmed and less likely to spend time scrolling through social media and watching TV.

One tip to improve your time perception is to keep track of the things you do. When you take note of your activities, even mindless smartphone use, you will get a clearer picture of where your time is going, so you can plan how to better use your time.

Afterwards, examine the “productive” things you do and make sure they bring you closer to your long-term goals in life. Is looking at emails on a Sunday morning (during a day off) helping you achieve the things you want in life or at least for that day? If not, temporarily take your mind off it. Once you learn to drop unrewarding tasks, you’ll have much more time for leisure.

Miles Everson, the CEO of MBO Partners, says he finds Headlee’s “Do Nothing” book refreshing because it reminds him that it’s okay to relax and take a break. According to him, there’s nothing wrong with being busy or productive. In fact, he has high regards for people who truly put in the work. 

However, Everson says you don’t have to overwork yourself. Every once in a while, you have to listen when your physical body tells you to rest because it’s also you who would benefit from doing so in the long run. 

Keep these useful and helpful insights in mind!

We encourage you to avail a copy of Headlee’s book and read it during your spare time. This will make you realize how important it is to spend time not working to maintain your health and well-being, and compel you to make a more conscious effort to save some time for leisure. 

Happy weekend, everyone! Enjoy your days off! 

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Fridays: Mindfulness by Miles”

High-performance businesses are run by people who think and act differently. 

In other words, these are people who are high-performing individuals

Companies and individuals of this kind have found ways to escape the grind of commoditization and competition by focusing on the RIGHT goals. 

High-performing businesses and individuals are also “return driven” businesses and “career driven” individuals. They conscientiously develop unique capabilities and resources that allow them to deliver offerings in ways no other firm or individual can. 

Every Friday, we’ll publish tips and insights from MBO Partners and The I Institute’s “The Business Builder Daily” newsletter. 

These will help you gain knowledge on the things that Miles Everson, the CEO of MBO Partners, often talks about regarding the future of the workforce. 

We’ll also highlight other mindfulness advice on how you can be a high-performing individual both in your career and personal life. 

Hope you’ve found this week’s insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Friday’s “Mindfulness by Miles!”


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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