The Three R’s
A number of years ago, while attending a seminar in California,
the presenter, Gay Hendricks of the Hendricks Institute, was relating
findings from a study he had done with America’s top executives,
to determine what lifestyle choices they shared. Across the board,
what he found was that every last one of them was an absolute stickler
about taking structured time off, despite their busy schedules.
In fact, taking a full day off each week, where no task was goal
oriented, was the norm.
When I share this suggestion with clients, the most immediate
reaction I get is “no way!” and then the list of excuses start: “I have
kids,” or “I work full time,” of “My husband/wife/(fill
in the blank) would never go for that!” and on it goes. Even though these
objections may be legitimate, what, if just for a moment, you allowed yourself
to breathe in the possibility? If not a full day, how about a half day, say
a weekend morning? Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to do absolutely
nothing—just nothing with an end goal in mind. For example, you can garden
if you love it, but not because you’ve got to get that weeding done.
You can indulge in a hobby if it’s relaxing, but not because you’ve
got to get it finished. For a day, or just a half day, just do what you do,
at the pace you’d like to do it.
What does this have to do with keeping your best intentions?
Everything. All of us lead busy lives, with lots of things to tend
to and juggle. But we think that just because we live in a world
where everything is available all the time, we should be, too.
Yet, not even a generation ago, none of the technology we “can’t
live without” even existed. Stores closed on Sunday. If,
while we were out, the phone rang, or our favorite show was on
TV, we missed it. And no one thought twice about it. Now, it’s
as if we don’t want to miss anything at all—ever, and
our poor nervous systems are overloaded and exhausted. Unless we
take the situation in hand, we’ll never catch our breath,
and it will be virtually impossible to maintain the high level
of effectiveness and productivity we demand from ourselves.
So, let this summer be a season where you sit back, and consider
the simple wisdom of these “Three R’s:”
This means not only making sure you get enough sleep, but building some time
into your week where you allow yourself to move at your own pace. Just putter
around your house, peruse the bookstore for nothing in particular. Just be.
Make time for vacation, and be sure you don’t spend all your time “seeing
the sights.” My family lives up north, and often when I’m flying
from Orlando to see them, I can’t help but notice the faces of parents
who are simply exhausted after their theme park “vacations.” So,
no matter what you do, be sure there’s downtime for you to just relax.
And turn off (or better yet, leave at home), the lap tops and cell phones!
Think any activity that gives you energy: taking a hike in the woods, spending
the day at the beach, enjoying your favorite hobby, having lunch with a favorite
friend. The goal: come away saying, “That was great!”
Spending a few minutes of quiet time every day is invaluable. Something as
simple as watching your breathing, and being present to your surroundings,
is a wonderful way to reconnect. You can also spend quiet time in prayer,
doing any kind of spiritual reading, journaling—anything that helps
you to gain perspective, and reminds you of a world larger than yourself.
Until next time…