First posted on LinkedIn March 16, 2016
Busy, busy, busy
It strikes me that we fill our lives with stuff to do: reports to write, meetings to attend, emails to send, phone calls to make, presentations to prepare, endless lists of things to do… And when we’re not at work, there’s endless lists of things to do too: our fitness regimes to maintain, our food to cook, our homes to clean, our children to drop off, our children to pick up, other people’s children to pick up, …
We allow ourselves to self-persecute; we allow our diaries persecute us; we allow our to-do lists persecute us. I know people who love making to-do lists. Their to-do lists even include “Get up” and, “Have breakfast” so that they can tick them off with a sense of achievement. This I fear is a step too far. You know it’s really gone too far when you start off a new to-do list with the item, “See other to-do list”.
Striving for efficiency
And even when you know this self-persecutory doing behaviour has gone too far, the only solutions out there appear to be aimed at doing things more efficiently: Smart Phone Apps that get you organised so you can do more, books that help you create an efficiency programme so you can do more, methods to take control of your email inbox so you can do even more…
I remember one of those personal efficiency type training courses I attended as a junior manager many years ago; we were shown how to categorise tasks into three types: ‘A’ tasks – those that our performance was measured against, ‘C’ tasks – those that were just stuff that came across our desks and ‘B tasks, which covered pretty much everything in between. Then we were told that personal efficiency sprang from scheduling ‘A’ tasks into our diaries. Who knew? A colleague and I were paired up at the end of the course to keep in touch and check in with each other to see how we were getting on with scheduling ‘A’ tasks into our demanding work schedules. So, I rang him a few weeks later to inquire into his progress. “I’m far too busy to start with all that crap,” he replied.
We become victims entirely of our own making.
Finding time to #JustBe
What if you could find a way to balance all this doing with more of the being we need to rediscover ourselves. It is said we are human beings after all, not human doings. What if you could find the time to #JustBe. Then you might just discover your life’s purpose, your Dharma. This requires us to reject being a victim and to choose being vulnerable instead. To choose our own potency over self-persecution.
And this starts with giving yourself permission to #JustBe. There is a time to do and a time to be. I like to think of each day as having three parts – a morning, an afternoon and an evening. That’s 21 parts to a week. Many of us are contracted to work for 10 of those, that’s less than half. In reality, many of us are conditioned into working a lot more of them.
Step 1: Make a list of the things that help you #JustBe. My list includes go for a walk, take a bath, play music. Then schedule some #JustBe time in your diary. Your diary will still be full of things to do, but now there’ll also be space to be too.
Step 2: Here’s the biggie. Clear your diary. I dare you. Just thinking about doing it can be scary, vulnerable. Liberating, isn’t it? Your diary becomes an ocean of space to #JustBe. You now have the choice to schedule in some things to do. A choice. All life is a choice.
Jeremy J Lewis