Stop and smell the roses. That’s the advice we offered in last month’s letter.
Did you do it?
I hope so. I did. I also engaged in some introspection. In the process, I boiled my thinking down to two important questions … the fundamental questions those of us who never seem to have enough time and are too busy to slow down and enjoy life would benefit from asking on a regular basis.
What’s missing in my life?
And what things am I spending too much time on that don’t really matter?
Look, part of breaking out of an unhealthy pattern of behavior involves recognizing it, acknowledging the problems it’s creating, and resolving to do something about it. That’s step one. We took a shot at that last month.
The next step is actually doing something about it. And that something doesn’t have to be anything drastic, like quitting your job and moving to Tahiti.
One of the things I did was to reinstitute a simple rule I used to live by.
Always give myself a 48 hour buffer before replying yes to a request.
This rule has saved me from joining a committee or volunteering for some project I simply didn’t have the time for … or really want to take on in the first place.
Somehow, I’d gotten away from my buffer rule and was saying “yes” way more than I wanted to or had the bandwidth to take on.
I’m back to responding to requests by letting the person making the request know I need 48 hours before I can answer.
Works like a charm … like having your very own Ronco Day Stretcher.
I’m also looking at my calendar on Sunday evening for the week ahead and calendaring all sorts of things designed to help me flow and not push. These include my weight training workouts, cardio sessions, and quiet time.
On the what’s-missing front, I just felt I wasn’t routinely experiencing and fully appreciating the beauty and wonder of the world around me. So now, I’m taking periodic sunshine breaks during my workday, spending just a couple minutes gazing at my beautiful gardens from my office window, and playing music while I’m doing office work.
I’m sure you could think of a hundred things that would enhance your own day to day experience.
Notice how none of these things is a big deal in terms of being hard to do or very time consuming. But they got shut out, simply because I was all wound up around the tasks in front of me.
No time for distractions!
Really? That’s nonsense if you think about it.
Get out your stopwatch and time how long it takes to smell a rose or turn on some music.
It’s all about what we’re open to and choose to include. It’s not really about time, as much as it is about our intention … or lack thereof … to include what’s important.
Sure, stuff has to be done you’d rather not do and you’ll often run out of time to do things you would really like to do. We’re not talking about achieving perfection here.
So, what’s the bottom line?
If you’re one of the whirlwinders like me, just do your best to be more mindful and intentional. That’s all. Get rid of the unwanted obligations impinging on your time and energy, mix in more joy-filled moments, and just see if your experience of life doesn’t improve.