A little time away from writing and a little more time focusing on family (a wedding) and travelling (a honeymoon) got me thinking.
Its becoming easier and easier to stay connected to work and to the world around us. The de-facto expectation is to stay connected while away or even when out for dinner (disclaimer – this isn’t necessarily the case at my clinic, my connectedness is more my own doing than my bosses:). But how useful is this? Do we need time to step away? To turn off? To day dream? Continue to read but if you have a moment check out Brain Pickings – its a new favourite blog of mine.
Its funny how our mind works. As I began to think about the importance of “switching off” I started to notice more writing about it. My Feedly teemed with articles on meditation, relaxation, and the importance of holidays (ie switching off). Even the book I picked up “the organized mind” spent considerable time discussing the importance of quietening the mind.
What did I learn from these readings? I came to realize that I needed to come to terms with an inevitably long list of things to do. As we tick something off or become more efficient we invariably add more to the list. As an example, I became better at doing client follow up so I felt the need to fill that extra time (with any number of tasks – squash, cooking, reading, etc). While I want to push the envelope and grow my skills but I don’t want to waste life perpetually wondering what more I could be doing. I want to be able sit quietly in the moment knowing that this is where I should be and nowhere else. If I find that I have extra time – I should sit with it, day dream, read, or nap.
It was clear I needed a strategy to stay content. The book that brought clarity to this subject, although I think inadvertently, was a book on leadership. Good Leaders ask Great Questions talked at length about becoming clear on your purpose and the daily rituals that make you happy. It suggests writing them out and taking a look at them each day.
I think it is easy to feel like you are not accomplishing things or making progress, but if you do a little self reflection each day or each week you realize how much you truly do.
Each week I try to answer these questions:
1. Did I spend quality time with my wife, family, and friends?
2. Did I seek out new connections – new people to meet and learn from?
3. Did I play?
4. Did I invest in-myself?
5. Did I take action on a business goal?
6. Did I take time for myself to relax?
7. Did I say “no” to things?
By asking myself these questions, being honest in my responses, and staying consistent I have started to notice a slow shift in my thinking. It will take time but it is a step in the right direction to switching off, quietening the mind, and being content.
Thanks for reading….oh and don’t forget to stay fit:)