I have always been a fairly active person. The to-do-list and whats-the-deadline type. When I hear people say “I have nothing to do today” my face turns into a question mark. Even if for whatever reason I am off work, I have always plenty to do.
Years ago I would have not hesitated one minute to think that obviously, if you want to get anywhere, you need to get and keep going, and fast if possible. In short, I was more focused on the goal and less on the journey. Thank God, like everyone, I aged, and learnt.
I have learnt that rest is as important as action, and that our bodies, as well as our minds, need the occasional day off to better perform. How much time do you allocate to the “dolce far niente” and how much to planning and doing? Do you run parallel projects close to your official job? What do you do in your "time off"?
Today, as a working mum of two, I see my time off work as a good occasion to get more done, but also to take a little break and think of myself. A massage, sitting by the lake doing nothing, one hour on a book during the day? Hey why not. My personal to-do-lists are now done on a weekly basis and I give myself plenty of more time to “get there”, remembering that if I am well rested I can get double done, be more patient, and walk through my day with a smile.
I still believe in the “getting things done” and “making things happen” motto as, incredibly, when I step back and let things go…well, either I delegate or things just don`t happen! A new investment, a trip planned, a real estate project, fixing a broken toy, writing, sorting family pictures, volunteering for an association, keeping in touch with old and new friends or work acquaintances, keeping strong bonds with the people I love. This too requires effort. As a wife and a mum, I now prioritize family time above everything, but still try and cut out of my day a few pockets for what I call my “hobbies”.
So how do you find the right balance between "slowing down" while "making things happen"?
A few learnings from the past few years (no I do not manage to stick to them all the time, I just try :-)
- Private victories come before public ones. Keep the promises you make to yourself (that work out, that language course, that healthier diet, etc)
- If you have a good idea, try to take some action right away (a new house, starting your own company, changing job, etc)
- Don`t get defensive.
- If you are serious about something, do not lose attention. Stay focused.
- There is something valuable to be learned from everything. Make it a habit of finding it.
- If you are achieving 100% of your goals you should think bigger.
- If an opportunity arises, seize it.
- Put yourself in other people`s shoes.
- Take time for yourself and to be yourself if you feel your body is running out of fuel. The magic recipe for me is sleep (with a 2 months old that`s often interesting!), exercise (Pilates) and shiatsu.
- Cut as much as possible time spent with negative or false people. They are drainers!
- If your husband says you are doing too much...you probably are :-)
- Use diplomacy but be honest to yourself, and to others, some won`t like it, some will thank you.