So many people these days seem to have no time to breathe, let alone reflect! Diaries are full for months in advance, the lists of things to do are never-ending, and then you go home and try to catch up on the tasks there despite your weariness.
Our belief that enhanced technology would free people up has well and truly backfired. In those moments between meetings, the phone is pinging with emails and messages, and there is an expectation that we will respond quickly, even if it is the evening or weekend.
What this constant barrage does to us is push us this way and that, without a clear direction. We end up doing whatever is next on the list, or whatever seems most urgent, and we lose our perspective of the bigger picture. And this leads to constant busyness, but not necessarily any feeling of progress or achievement.
Carving out a little time to reflect can make all the difference. We don’t mean just sitting there, exhausted, taking time to breathe – although that’s important too! – we mean reminding yourself of the bigger picture of your life and work.
When we are under stress and pressure to deliver our thinking tends to become very narrow and we lose the breadth of our vision. We can only seem to focus on the immediate ‘what next’ and because we are stuck in the stuff we struggle to see what’s really important, to get proper perspective.
It’s actually relatively easy to get some perspective, we just need to find a little time (could be as little as 15minutes) to stop and ask ourselves some reflective questions.
Reflection questions part 1 – to broaden the context beyond work:
Firstly we need to remind ourselves of the big context: what our lives are about. So we need to consider questions like:
- What’s really important to me?
- How do I want my life to be?
- How do I keep some balance in my life?
- How do I look after myself?
We don’t believe that any of us would spend the last few months of our lives on the things that so often fill our time. The time we had left would become precious to us and be about what really matters to us and gives us joy. So lets’ make sure that we have time for some of these things now. After all none of us know when those last few months may be. Let’s live our life rather than surviving it.
Reflection questions part 2 – to help us regain perspective on all those tasks that drive you along:
When we are stuck in the day to day tasks that we face at work, we forget that actually we are more in control of our to-do lists than we think. Sometimes just sitting down and asking ourselves what we really want to get out of our week can make all the difference – questions like:
- What do I want to achieve in my work life this week?
- What do I want to achieve in my home life this week?
- What will give me a feeling of progress towards my outcomes this week?
- What would make my life easier and more enjoyable this week?
When we stop and think about it, we can sort out our priorities rather than being driven by the urgent stuff. It gives us back a sense of control, of being in the driving seat, and it reminds us that, most of the time, we are not dealing with life or death situations, and some things really don’t need to be done at all! We all have an innate wisdom, that part of us that knows how to make our lives work. It requires a bit of time and space to switch it on – it gets buried when we just rush from one thing to the next.
So, turn off your phone and your computer for half an hour, once a week. Go on, why not put it into your online diary now – time for REFLECTION – Ask yourself these questions, or remind yourself of the answers you’ve come up with. Give yourself time to reflect and regain your perspective, and take back control.
It’s your life, don’t waste it on things that, when you reflect on them, don’t really matter as much as you think they do!
We think that reflection time will make a real difference to how you feel, and the only cost is 30 minutes from your working week. We reckon it’ll give you a great return on that small investment of time!
Have a great month everyone,
Jo and Di xx