There appears to be two opposing forces in our lives:
The one that begs you to hustle and grind and the one that urges you to pause and find calm.
Both have value but it’s a delicate balance trying to find when to switch one off and turn the other on.
Our phones, our inbox, and our itineraries make us slaves to convenience and urgency.
There is the call to be efficient, and hyper-productive as a badge of honor to wear around those who rely on what we do and do well.
On the other side, we need the gravitational pull of stillness, of quiet, and reflection to ease the chaos.
This happens in our professional lives and our personal lives.
Several years ago, I recognized these two forces with my work and it reminded me that I needed to split our day into two training blocks: an A.M. shift and a P.M. shift with a handful of hours as downtime in between.
It was the best way to have the hustle and grind bookending the work day with a strategic calm in the middle.
There had to be a way to honor and recognize both needs.
Of course, it’s easy to get busy being busy and it’s easy to fill up time in the white space of a daily planner not taking the time to recharge but only finding more places to do more.
Much like our smartphones, we get a lot of usage and mileage out of a day, but if you don’t get back on the charger you don’t have much life to offer others.
Some people use meditation.
Some people use prayer.
Some people use apps and websites designed to turn off our computers or phones and block distractions.
I have to remind myself to find the calm, especially when I sit down and eat a meal.
One of my most counterproductive eating behaviors is to eat a meal at a frighteningly fast pace.
It’s a conscious act to slow down, set my fork down, and stop…savor…breathe.
Of note, this is one of the best tips I can give you if you’re struggling with your weight.
Many of the foods we fill our cabinets and freezers with are custom designed to be consumed and consumed quickly, long before our bodies register any feelings of satiety.
What works in our lives, both personal and professional, works with (or against) our diets and affects our stress levels and sleep habits.
So, take a moment after reading this and look at the areas in your day and your week where you’re rushing from one task to the next, not pausing to find the calm.
If need be, schedule that time.
Life will rarely slow down on purpose.
When you make the time, show appreciation for it.
The time to grind can wait.
(Photo courtesy of Melissa Askew)