Many of us speed through the day without any awareness. The whole day is about doing and then doing more. For others, we feel lost in our day, directionless, not sure what to do next. By the time the day is finished we often feel frustrated.
We didn’t get enough done. We didn’t meet our goals.
Whether you are overwhelmed with tasks or feeling lost, you can increase both your joy and your effectiveness by taking time to stop, look, and listen. When your day is made up of non-stop tasks or you are constantly pressuring yourself to do things you are not doing, you are treating the work as more important than yourself.
The result is stress. Stress leads to physical and emotional suffering. Over time the increased heart rate, the contraction of muscles, and the release of hormones wears on the body, making us more susceptible to both injury and disease.
On top of the physical suffering, the constant pressure to do and do more causes self criticism, guilt, and complaining about others. The negative emotion caused by these thoughts creates ongoing tension and clouds our ability to think. This tension blocks our creativity.
Does any of this sound like you?
I find that having 5 to 10 minutes, at least twice during your day, to stop, look, and listen can do wonders.
Take a break. If possible, make it at the same times each day. If not, aim for two general time frames each day .Accept no interruptions -- no phone calls, no visitors or any other activity. Your first thought may be “I don’t have time for that!”
STOP! Stop what you are doing. Take one minute and breathe deeply. Focus on your breath and don’t think about anything else.
If you are a spiritual person this is a moment to offer up a prayer of gratitude--gratitude that you are alive and breathing--gratitude that you are employed--gratitude for this opportunity to be of service to others.
LOOK! Look at your day so far. Step outside of yourself and, without judgment, assess where you are. How do you feel? (angry, fearful, stressed out, joyful, sad, excited, other emotions?) Simply notice your emotional state
LISTEN! Listen to the story you are telling yourself.
Are you blaming or criticizing yourself or others? What are the events happening around you and how are you reacting to them? Do not judge yourself. Simply observe. If you are having a fabulous day, take this moment to give thanks for it.
You will feel refreshed, focused, more calm, more motivated, more productive, you will be more aware of yourself and how you feel. This helps you to take your thinking and doing off automatic and live more consciously.
The job is not more important than you. The job is production, but you are the production capability. If you take good care of the production capability (you) you will improve the production. Do this and you will find yourself looking forward to these few minutes each morning and afternoon.
Think of it as filling up your tank. Think of it as making yourself more conscious of what is going on within you and around you. Good luck!