Musing on: Doing nothing

Posted by Theresa Nguyen on

the power of doing nothing

Image from a favorite illustration set on what love is.

I'm unapologetic about my inactivity - that's a first. I've been unintentionally studying the tension between how guilt and productivity play in my life.

I don't know about you, but I feel guilt when I'm not working towards something. It's like we've been taught to believe that action is everything. Have an active social life. Keep your house clean. Eat information like it's a daily meal. Be the best version of yourself. That's a lot of pressure.

In the Artist's Way, there was a week dedicated to reading deprivation. No phone, no Instagram, no fictional novels. I put myself on a strict diet of only work readings. By the second day, my partner irritably asked me to stop overcompensating by talking his ear off. After a few rounds of flaring my nostrils, the slow ticking of the clock started to feel natural. I re-arranged the bursting pantry. I leisurely facetimed my cousin in England. I watched my kids do kid stuff. 

The purpose of reading deprivation was to get comfortable with doing nothing. And that by letting myself be bored, I'd open myself up to new experiences.

TBH, I don't remember most of what I did that week. BUT - I do remember the feeling of calm and peacefulness that eventually permeated. 

Sometimes, there's a lesson in boredom if you let it come. What if it was the right thing to do to be bored and not use it as a productivity hack? What if puttering around the evenings and being idle was a valuable way to spend time?

Read more →

Musing on: The Happiness Graph

Posted by Theresa Nguyen on

Have you noticed that we're in an age of obsessive tracking? People track everything - the distance run that day, weight loss, # of followers. 

A few months ago, I was testing out the U-curve of emotions and everyday was feeling like a roller coaster. So many highs and lows within just a few hours. Then it occurred to me that this tracking trend mashed with my emotions research could solve all life problems. I mean, who doesn't heart a good graph!

So voila! A Happiness Graph was created and tested in my month of transitioning roles. Just visually seeing that I was experiencing more happy days than sad made me feel better.

Download a blank template here. I use the Paper by 53 app to track.
If you feel comfortable, send me what you capture!

Happiness graph

Note: this is applicable even if you're not changing roles. One could argue that life is a constant transition...

Read more →

Musing on: Productivity Planner

Posted by Theresa Nguyen on

I've been using Alex Ikonn's Productivity Planner for the last two months and it's blown my mind! My productivity at work has just skyrocketed. I attribute most of this to a combo of 1) seeing my to-do list laid out and 2) using the Pomodoro timer. They have a free PDF sample that I've been printing up. 

Give it a try and let me know how it's improved your workflow!

Read more →

Listicles on Creativity

Posted by Theresa Nguyen on

Trying a new thing this week. Here are 3 articles that caught my eye...


1. 5 steps to a More Creative You

quiet time

2. Insights into AHA moments.

boredom and creativity

3. Can boredom make you more creative?


Hope you enjoyed this week's post! I love hearing from you so let me know what caught your eye this week :)

Read more →

Musing on: Why you should talk to yourself

Posted by Theresa Nguyen on

Lately, I've been thinking in images. Flashes of bouquets, ice cream... once even a hipster man. 

Hipster plaid illustration

Illustration: La Perera

It was through this weird shift that I became aware of my natural thinking pattern. I think in sentences. There's almost a constant dialogue happening in my head. It wasn't until the mind chatter was replaced with pictures that I was like - WHOA. What the hell is going on?

The beauty of sharing a room with coaches is I can ask questions about the voices in my head and not receive a 'you-are-crazy' look. Turns out this is totally normal! Once you starting paying attention to your stream of consciousness, most people can identify 5-6 interior dialogues passing through their mind. I found 4 within ten minutes.

Inner voices

  1. The Critic - that awful nagging voice reminding you that everything you do is utter shit. 
  2. One of your parents' voice - this one made me laugh. I can definitely hear my mom pop up like the Asian Jiminy Cricket 
  3. The Inner child - loudest when I'm hangry or drunk.
  4. The Comparative - starts up when judging others. "Did you see how short that skirt was!?"

I'm going to experiment with this concept - see what I can identify. I was encouraged to not judge or clamp down on myself. Stay curious.


    Read more →