I am finding myself in need of the reminder that five minutes of planning will save fifteen minutes of work. I’m rushing and pushing myself to complete so much in a day, forgetting that every day will have its responsibilities, duties, and challenges. And if I am perpetually pushing myself forward toward that next thing I am not able to savor the moment nor am I accomplishing those goals that I have set for myself. I am in need of a refresh, a break, and a vacation. Lately I have been blazing through the day like a warrior, only to conk out at night exhausted but also too tired to plan for the next day.
Today a meeting was cancelled and that was such a relief. I have over-scheduled and overcommitted myself to so many projects, it’s time to breathe and take a break. It is time to refocus and establish how I would like to show up in the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to be still for a bit. This season has seen me pressing forward and pushing through. Now it is time to rest and reconfigure. I do that by remembering that work will always be there, there will always be another task, more to do, and always someone else asking for more of me. But what I need to give is less, I need to focus on myself, align my actions with my core values and pick and choose those activities to which I will give my energy. Here’s how I’m going to do that:
Stop: I’m going to stop jumping to finish that, “one last thing,” or shoot off a quick email. I need only to take in the information. Rushing at the speed of light does not enable me to deliver my best work. The first key to doing too much is to stop.
Breathe: The next step I am taking is finding my center, aligning myself before acting. When I rush I take on more than my fair share. I overcompensate for others and the work they are not doing. I stay busy while other people have too little to do. I need to give others the space to step in and step up to help – which they can’t do if I’m in the way.
I need to take a little bit of time to recalibrate and decide how I want to spend my energy and my time. If it is on this project, or this call, or this email, that’s great – but if these things are not fueling me and will not satisfy my larger plan or highest self, I need to let them go.
Discern: A couple years ago my focus for the year included discernment, which is the ability to listen and trust your inner knowing. Discernment means you don’t make a snap decision, go with the crowd, or do whatever is suggested. Discernment is the practice of looking within to make your decisions and trusting that your inner and deeper knowing will guide you down the path you should be walking – it already knows where you want to end up.
Discernment is not easy, especially because we are often marketed to, nudged, and talked into acting in certain ways. We are encouraged to buy these items, dress this way, and perform as a cast and not live as real people – who are flawed and messy and do not have perfect hair all the time. To learn more about discernment I would encourage you to read my piece on how to incorporate discernment into your daily life – what I learned after a year of practicing discernment.
Decide and Hold Strong: Once you have made your decision or selected those items that you want in your schedule and in your life, hold your boundaries firm. We all slip and we all sometimes get submerged – or re-submerged – by the onslaught of attention and activities and FOMO. When you make a decision it’s easy to feel tempted to break your promise to yourself in order to please another person – don’t! You’re learning to trust yourself and building trust with yourself, your “you time” is your priority and it is sacred. Don’t break you appointments with yourself in order to accommodate another person, you will only feel as if you have abandoned yourself and before long you’ll be stretched too thin. (This happens and it happens all the time, in which case just jump back to step one, Stop, and follow the steps from there.
Holding space for ourselves and setting boundaries is difficult. It can be especially hard when you’re choosing from a collection of opportunities you don’t want to miss out on. But as you practice discernment and holding your boundaries you start to see and feel your life moving with new momentum towards the things and people that bring you the most joy – and isn’t that the way every day should be? Shouldn’t everything we do move us closer to our goals, highest power, and happiness? What steps do you take when things get crazy and you start to feel overwhelmed? Any tips or tricks I might want to learn too?