Get to know Niksen: The art of doing nothing

Niksen means doing nothing or, more specifically, performing an action without a clear purpose or a deadline

There is the Japanese way to organize – KonMari – the Danish way to establish a cozy home – hygge – and the Swedish way to live a balanced life – lagom. Apparently, there is also the right way to do nothing, thanks to the Dutch and niksen.’s Dutch to English translation of niksen is: “idle; lounge around; sit around; do nothing much …”

In essence, according to in 2018: “Niksen means doing nothing or, more specifically, performing an action without a clear purpose or a deadline. For instance, for the Dutchies, looking out the window as people pass or going to the beach to stare at the waves for a while is considered niksen. And by doing so, they obtain a state of calmness, of tranquility that they really like.”

Could this truly take hold in the United States? The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that a full-time employee puts in an average of nine hours daily at a job. And then there is exercise or other hobbies; time spent with friends, family and/or children; commuting, cooking, cleaning, errands and more. Americans know how to stay busy. The New York Times last month expressed, ”… stopping the cycle of busyness can be challenging in a culture that prizes getting things done.”

Real Simple in 2018 pointed out that niksen is not as easy as it sounds. It requires:
– Stopping. “Put down the phone, avoid checking emails, stop browsing the Netflix queue …”
– Meditating. Listen to music, fixate on a tree, a leaf, a doorknob – whatever works.
– Accomplishing nothing. Have no goals in mind, other than to do nothing.

The Times suggested some benefits of niksen may be:
– Daydreaming leads to creativity.
– Momentary idleness can recharge batteries and lead to greater productivity.
– Meditating clears the mind.

Importantly, resist feelings of guilt when practicing niksen, advises “Be unapologetic about taking breaks or holidays, and if you start to feel guilty about being seen as lazy, think of niksen as … an important life skill.”