The things that are supposed to save time only seem to make us busier. In the age of apps, fast-food, text messages, microwaves, broadband, drive-throughs, express lines, and email, we’re only ever rushing faster and faster.
But it doesn’t have to be this way — and it shouldn’t be.
While most of us are pressed on all sides with expectations, deadlines, and consumerism, much of this rushing around is self-inflicted. Our own performance-driven mentalities contribute to the problem. The go-go-go lifestyle is difficult to escape for families that have kids with activities all over town throughout the week, gym memberships that haven’t been used nearly enough, and jobs where the expectations of daily and weekly sales goals drive profits.
To escape this trap, we have to first accept that we are moving against the current. These external factors are strong enough to take us under. Without our awareness, they pull on us and we pay a toll with our inner-selves.
We must stop allowing our lives to manage us and, instead, start managing our lives.
It begins by slowing down. Take a deep breath and relax. You can take your life back one decision at a time. The first decision to make starts with a question. Imagine you had a day all to yourself from the time you woke up to the time you went to sleep. What would you do?
You don’t have any roles, responsibilities, and expectations from anyone all day. (Yes, this might seem unrealistic, but allow yourself to dream.) What are the things that bring you the greatest delight, that overflow your cup?
Think of things that are not work. Think of things that are totally play. How about reading, hanging out with friends, playing tennis, taking a long nap, going out to a favorite restaurant, catching a movie, finishing a personal project, or sitting on the beach?
Whatever it is, plan that day and put it on the calendar at least once per quarter. On that day, turn your phone off and avoid email. This is the first step toward slowing down and taking back your life.
By Robb Holman