“A wise woman recognizes when her life is out of balance and summons the courage to act to correct it, she knows the meaning of true generosity, happiness is the reward for a life lived in harmony, with a courage and grace.” – Suze Roman
There are a few new generational phrases going around the term, “Y.O.L.O” (You Only Live Once), or “ I’ll sleep when I die! This is quite funny if you think about it, you might actually die if you don’t sleep, and really you only die once so it should be more like Y.O.D.O. Interestingly, both phrases coined by rappers, who I don’t think are the best examples to take life or professional advice from per say. Regardless, the trend of such phrases got me to thinking why is it that we view the opposite of “doing” as “not doing” and then demonize inaction as ineffective? The truth is there are many different reasons for not being a highly active person and moreover being a consistently busy person with no balance, rest, or reflection will not make you more efficient or more successful.
In my corporate career I have often struggled with managing my career, personal, and community obligations. I tend to be one of those people who overextends, over engages and overcompensates in my life simply because that’s how I’ve become accustomed to functioning through the chaos of life. However the truth is, I was running myself and my health into the ground. While simultaneously not being the most effective in my work and personal settings. So what did I do to change?
For starters, I started studying people I saw as effective leaders, who were operating in balance the way I wanted to. I researched celebrities and community leaders and read and watched how they lived. I reached out to my mentors and had a few conversations about how they manage their day. However, the most important intel came from peers. One peer in particular was like a rock star. She always looked the part; she always looked well rested, she worked out every day, she had a social life, a love life, was a community leader, and her house and car were always sparking clean. I was in a constant state of “how is this possible?” I initially thought she was genetically built different…I mean who gets up to run at 5am anyway and still looks like a L’oreal commercial by 8am? So one day, I asked her … How do you do it? How do you keep it all together? You are like a universal rock star. And that’s when I discovered the ‘’ the ART of NOT doing”.
She explained that after a health scare she refocused all her energy to living a more purposeful and balanced life. Thats when I learned things are not always what they appear to be. There are a lot of things she simply was “NOT DOING” herself. She maintained balance by creating routine, prioritizing, and outsourcing. Before she had tried to do it all, then she decided she just simply couldn’t. I soon discovered from our conversation that she had a house keeper (she split cost with her neighbors in her condo), she used a discounted mobile car wash service that came to you while you were at work, gym, or grocery shopping. She completed her food preps on Sundays and cooked and packed her lunch and dinner for the week. She dropped her clothes off to a laundry service which helped save cost on laundry supplies, utilities and time. However most importantly, she turned off her tv, committed to working out every day, and never went to bed past 10 pm on weekdays. She discovered that once she found time for herself, all other priorities fell into place and she had birthed a new more efficient version of herself. So here are some take aways that have served me well as I live more efficiently each day “not doing!”
Managing Time Wisely/To Do List – Nothings wrong with a good old fashion to do note. However, if you are techy like me then you know there are types of cool apps to help you along like Springpad, Evernote, Todo.ly. Preparation is key!
Sufficient Sleep – Traditionally adults need 6-8 hours of sleep, find your balance and learn to rest!
Breaking Bad Habits – In many cases you need to see where much of your idle time is spent. It’s easy to be sucked into the black hole of social media, the internet, and worse reality tv. So get off the couch and power down!
Exercise/ Meditate/ Reflect– Turn your snooze button into a muse button and take a few minutes to reflect on solving the worlds problems before putting your feet on the floor or grabbing your cell phone.
Learning to say NO!- If you tend to be a jack of all trades and people call on you to do a lot of things… learn to just say “NO” ! You’ll be better for it.
So enjoy yourself “NOT” doing your way to greatness!
~ And that’s the Tea!