Sorry, We're Closed!
It's very easy for us to get caught up in life's "Emergencies" to the point that we forget to take care of the important things. After all, the world is full of an endless array of distractions, all pulling for our ever diminishing time and attention. But if our attention gets lost among piles of todo lists and obligations, we can quickly find ourselves frantically moving, and yet getting no where. I find myself really liking Seth Godin's definition of busy-ness, where we mistakenly substitute action for progress. One can answer emails and phones all day long and yet not make any substantial move forward on the true goal at hand. We are lost in the trenches of the battle and unaware of what is happening beyond what we can see in this very moment.
To get our perspective back, we need time and space. And if life doesn't grant it to us, we simply have to make it happen. I've found that blocking out time via appointments with myself is critical. If I don't do that, the world manages to fill up my calendar before I even get a chance for my morning cup of tea. But having used this technique for several months now, I can assure you the rewards are great; even if it initially put my in a state of panic because I already felt I was behind. Wouldn't reducing my hours result in less work done? Absolutely not! It allowed me to sharpen my saw, prepare, and (most importantly) rest my brain and body so that I was more efficient.
A Day Off
Even with blocking out time, I still rarely take a full day off. I know it would benefit me greatly, but I'm taking baby steps here. Can you imagine what would happen to a business that never took the time to restock the shelves, to balance their accounting, or to plan for the future? It would certainly burn out and collapse along with the people running it. The same is true for all of us. We need to (at least occasionally) hang our 'Sorry we're Closed" signs up and take a break, or else our bodies will shut down and force us to anyway! So we might as well make it on our terms and benefit from it. Besides, is it really that hard to just relax? I'll have to take some time off to think about it...
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About Rick Manelius
Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.