n. Deliberately doing nothing.
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What is zero-tasking? It means being, not doing. It means taking those 60 minutes and just doing nothing. Simply rest, relax, de-stress and de-load (the opposite of overload). It means just breathing—in and out, over and over—and marveling at the fact that you can breathe, that you are alive, that you are here.
—Nancy Christie, “Today is Zero-Tasking Day—Did you zero-task?,” Make a Change Blog, November 03, 2013
This reporter saw Jan Hill at Wal-Mart last week. She was proudly wearing a shirt that said "zero-tasking" — the absolute opposite from the multi-tasking she's done the last two decades as the Burlington Public School secretary.
—Yvonne Miller, “Jan Hill trades in multi-tasking for biking and grandkids' activities,” The Alva Review-Courier, July 17, 2013
2004 (earliest)
—Mick Stevens, “Zerotasking” (cartoon caption), The New Yorker, June 07, 2004
This Sunday — and indeed every year on the day when Daylight Savings Time ends and we turn the clocks back an hour — we celebrate "Zero-Tasking Day." Invented by the writer Nancy Christie in 2006, Zero-Tasking Day is when we're supposed to use the extra hour not to perform more chores or check more feeds or see more people, but instead to relax and simply do nothing. Of course, in a recent experiment where some people got to choose between sitting and doing nothing and giving themselves electric shocks, two-thirds of men and a quarter of women chose the electric shocks. These were video-game-addled, thrill-seeking youngsters, right? Ah, you wish. No, according to the study's authors, "even older people did not show any particular fondness for being alone thinking." And these were people being asked to do nothing for between six and 15 minutes. Who knows what they'd do to themselves if you asked them to be alone with their thoughts for a whole hour! Maybe all this just proves that now we need Zero-Tasking Day more than ever.