More and more in my work with clients I see people who are overextended. Their schedules, kid's schedules, partner's schedules, work, home, play, exercise, spirituality. Sound familiar? It makes me as the question, what are we doing to ourselves? Is this really the kind of life we want to be living?
The rush to get ahead, make money, succeed and advanced is creating one rushed society. I see it every day on the roads. People driving faster and faster. Where exactly are they going that is of such importance that they need to drive 100 mph, weaving in and out of traffic and endangering other people's lives? It can't be that there are so many people running late.
I have been trying an experiment in my own life of trying to slow down and become more aware. Tune into what I am doing and trying to reduce the amount of multi-tasking I am doing in a day. And it has been a good experience so far.
When I bring up this topic in my workshops, I usually get a lot of groans and eye rolling. "Impossible!" I hear. "Pu-lease! Slow down? But how?" I gently remind people that anything is possible if we want it badly enough. It is very easy to not overextend yourself, reduce the amount of things you do in a day and find more time for quality as opposed to quantity.
I will share a few of the changes I have made that have made a difference. Some may seem inconsequential to your life or in general but they have made a huge difference in my life.
#1. Being More Aware While Driving
I notice so many people racing through parking lots, it truly amazes me. There have been numerous occasions when I have almost been hit, while walking in a parking lot, because the driver was not paying attention or driving to fast. Being more aware and tuned in while we are driving is not only important for safety but also for our sanity. In slowing down, I have adopted the attitude of letting others do what they want on the roads and not getting angry about it. I have also started using the cell phone less while driving because it is a distraction. Overall, it has made me a better driver and I definitely feel more calm when I am on the road.
#2 Less Television
A major part of slowing down for me is reducing the amount of television I watch and not using the t.v. as background noise. This may not sound like much of a way to slow down but it makes a huge difference. On days when I am working from home and on the computer, I usually have the t.v. on in the background, even though I can't see it from my office. When I turn it off and work in silence, it makes such a difference. I am able to focus better and tune into what I am doing; not to what is happening on the t.v. I have also found that watching less news and less shows in general has decreased stress and allowed me more time for more important things such as reading, hobbies and quiet time.
#3 Unwinding Time
Taking time to transition from work mode to home mode is very important. I have been trying to add this into my schedule for awhile. It's always there on my To Do list but like anything new, it takes time for me to get rolling on it. Well, one day I had a very busy, stressful day and came home late. My husband wanted to watch the news and for me it was just information overload. So, I took some time alone in the guest bedroom to just breathe, clear my head and relax. And half an hour later I was fully refreshed and recharged. Taking time to clear our heads after the work day is so important so we can transition from those thoughts and stresses and be fresh for our family and events of the evening.
#4 Appreciate the Every Day
We have all heard the saying that we should appreciate the little things in life. So every day I look for these little things. It helps to take our focus somewhere else to reduce stress. And it can be anything. My latest favorite is my appreciation for water. How many times a day do we just turn on the faucet and out comes clean, fresh, warm or cold water? Have you ever really thought about that? How lucky are we that we have this anytime we want it? I think it is one of those things we definitely take for granted and we don't realize how many people in the world do not have this simple, basic need. Try to find something each day that you usually would overlook because it is so common. Focus on that and how thankful you are to have it.
These are just a few examples of slowing down and tuning in. What does this have to do with organizing? A lot. Organizing is about more than creating a cleared space. It also extends into our thoughts and how we live our lives. So many people suffer with cluttered minds and thoughts and this carries over into their physical space. Doing less will actually help you achieve more in the long run. And if you take the time to tune into life a bit more, it will bring more meaning to it and help to reduce stress.