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The power of niksen and lantefanteren

This morning I did nothing. Or I nikste or was busy aan het niksen. The productivity gurus, except David Allen, would probably call it procrastinating because there is also a shitload of work I still need to do. Except I did it consciously. Why? Because I strongly believe in the power of niksen. It makes me more productive, creative, smarter and even happier in the end.

I really had to laugh this week because suddenly niksen, according to, was the Dutch concept to become happier and live a happy life. Well there is another Dutch word which I think would contribute even more to that and that is called lantefanteren. Basically niksen, but with a small more positive difference you can just do as you please and there is no aim in whatever you do. You can stare out the window, take a long bath, whatever you like. Basically, you let your mind, body and soul wanders in any way that pleases you.

So why should you incorporate niksen or lantefanteren in your writing or work routine? Here are 5 reasons!

Reason 1: For the fun of it!

Yes, just do it for the fun of it! Why should you always be busy? Why should you always “do” something to enjoy yourself? Why should you always create the right environment or sit in a certain position to create peace and calm? Just be in the moment and do nothing J. What more of a reason do you need?

Reason 2: It makes you more creative

To have time to wander makes me 100 times more creative. Because like taking a shower the moment you let your mind wander and there is no pressure to do or create something, the best ideas pop up. This works brilliantly with writers’ block as well. Take the pressure of your mind and let it wander. And if nothing comes out of it that is ok too, because the purpose was doing nothing at all J.

Reason 3: You connect the dots and it makes you smarter

By taking pressure of your mind by doing nothing and allowing yourself to do nothing it’s like removing the traffic jam out of your head. Suddenly all the roads are clear. Cars can go where they need to be. This makes your brain go Yi Ha! Suddenly new roads are built, connections are made, solutions pop up and information is stored better. So yes, it makes you smarter and makes new connections. Who would have guessed by doing nothing you become smarter J?

Reason 4: It makes you more productive (yes, yes I know it sounds strange)

Doing nothing makes you more productive. The main reason is that you give your brain a rest and makes it possible to replenish all the willpower and decision-making energy you depleted by just going on and on and on. Also, it just gives your brain and body a rest so the next time you use your brain and body they are more rested, making you more powerful and energised to do the things you need to do. Basically, you beat fatigue by letting your mind, body and soul wander.

Reason 5: It makes you happier

So, if the above 4 reasons do not make you a tiny bit happier and convince you to schedule to do nothing once in a while, how about it just makes you happier? To give yourself permission to do nothing, to take all pressure off, to do small things you enjoy just for the heck of it, gives you a deep feeling of relaxation. And when you are one of those people who needs to be busy all the time, the doing nothing might be agony. When you can get back to work you are so, so happy. So, the result in the end is the same. Although in my humble opinion it’s better to enjoy the doing nothing time…

Lantefanteren and niksen

You read the above and you are ready to do nothing. Only you have worked always so hard, always kept the pressure on or your niksen was always a form of procrastinating and you literally do not know what to do now???? I recommend the following: schedule 2 to 3 hours of niksen-time. Make sure you can be either alone and won’t be disturbed or be somewhere with so many people it will have the same effect (like a nice coffee place). The best place is your home or. When you start and it’s your first time, set an alarm so you do not have to worry about time. When you are more experienced you can let the timelimit go because every time is different. Listen to your mind and body when it tells you enough is enough. And then 1, 2, 3 ready steady go…. Yes just do nothing …..



Niksen: to idle or to muck or literally: doing nothing

Lantefanteren: no translation found…:  doing small enjoyable things without purpose or planning

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