Life flies by so quickly it seems almost crazy how we seem to just try to speed things up by rushing through our daily routines and tasks. As a parent it appears to me that the years are just rushing by like the blink of an eye. I struggle to believe that my two little baby girls are already 20 and 16 years old. It seems only like yesterday that they were just children.
As a life coach one of the biggest problems that people feel they need to find the answer to is how to get more done with the time available to them. They are already flying around like headless chickens, running from one task to another. They’re doing so much but they want to do more. They’re not worried about their high blood pressure, or the effects that stress is having on their life. They just want to get more stuff done. They want me to show them how to cram more into an already packed schedule.
One principle I will always introduce to them is the Pareto 80/20 principle. Knowing how this works will simplify their life and help them move towards improved performance in all areas. I intend writing a post specifically on the 80/20 rule later this week. The Pareto Principle states that 20% of work produces 80% of the results. Conversely, 80% of our work is relatively ineffective. To become more effective, we need to periodically look at our lives and ask, “What is the 20% of my work that produces the greatest value in my life and how do I increase that percentage?”
By learning how to apply the 80/20 rule you can eliminate insignificant work from your life, and focus on what really matters, to earn more, work less, and spend time doing the things you love.
My article today is to do with how the increasingly rapid pace of life we are trying to live is causing problems for our physical, mental, spiritual and relationship health. Most of you are caught up in the rat race, keeping to an exhausting daily routine that leaves you no time for rest and relaxation.
We in a way are so fortunate living in the 21st century. We have available to us so many wonderful new technologies designed to make our life more comfortable and easy.
Technological advances have resulted in labour saving devices for the home, the garden and the office. Communication has become so simple, so fast through the internet, with wireless connections, laptops, mobile phones and all the other devices we have close at hand. But instead of all this technology making our lives easier, giving us more time to enjoy life, we have used them to make our lives even busier than we were before, and made it possible to never escape from our work or its responsibilities. We are now finding ourselves rushing from one job to another, stressed to high heaven.
The reality of the situation is it has made our life more busy and automatic. From early morning till night we are working like robots. We are so occupied with our work and getting more done we are not giving ourselves the time to live.
This rapid pace of life requires us to work so much harder and longer hours we have to ignore so many other parts of our life. One of which is our health. Too many of us are totally negligent about our health needs. The importance and pressure of our work results in us neglecting proper eating and sleeping, and more often than not we totally forget to find some time for exercise, which is essential for our bodies.
Then there is another consequence of our hectic working schedule. We are so engrossed in satisfying our job requirements we end up spending way less time with our family than we should. This can be seen by the ever increasing divorce rates, and the poor relationships many parents now have with their children.
We are having to move at breakneck speed just to keep up. We are busy, busy, busy. Even when we finally escape to our homes there is still so much to do, that you have to avoid putting your feet up, otherwise you would just crash out, and keep on going.
So as technology is continually improved, with more and more time saving gadgets, we merely use that time to do more and more things, and so our lives are more fast-paced and hectic than ever.
In fact most people seem to be slaves to their to-do lists, only being happy when they accomplish tasks on their lists, then focusing on getting more things done. They rush through life trying to just get ahead, failing to experience the magic of each moment, of life itself. Eventually they begin to sense an existence that is unfulfilled, empty, lacking purpose, and devoid of fun.
So what do I suggest to you today? SLOW DOWN! Of course if you allow it, work will always take over your life, but you can make the decision today to not allow your life any longer to be a daily race against time.
Start by asking these two questions:
What is the best use of my time and energy?
What is the most important thing I can do right now?
With the correct action plan and time management strategy you can dramatically improve how productive you are doing day-to-day tasks which would normally eat away at your day.
Maybe you can’t get past your job responsibilities even still. Some of you will just have created your new to-do-list featuring all those tasks you feel you need to do for work. So many incomplete projects and so many new things to get started!
So here is another two questions for you:
If I only had three hours to work today then what would I spend those three hours working on?
Now what will I do with the rest of my day knowing that I will do no more work today?
“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going to fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” Eddie Cantor
Slowing down means making the time to enjoy your life, instead of always rushing around working like a lunatic. It means taking pleasure in whatever you’re doing at any time, focusing on only the moment. Giving your undivided attention to who ever you are with and what ever you are doing. It means that you are disconnecting for a while.
You need to rest, relax, and have fun. You need to take time to think about things, to clear the mind, and to have fun. Keep this one day a week sacred, it will help you to build up your emotional, mental, and physical reserves, and make you more productive the rest of the week. You can connect with the present moment and just fully enjoy what is happening right now. Let yourself have a social life, free of the burdens of work.
Summer offers you a perfect moment to capitalise on this concept. I call it my ‘get away from it all day’. I drive myself to the coast, find a deserted spot overlooking the Sea, and get lost in a book. At times I just sit and look out across the water and let my mind settle. I sit and watch the water flowing away. I let my thoughts and problems go away with the flow of the water.
Allow yourself to truly enjoy the people and things that matter most to you and take care of your health.
“It is important from time to time to slow down, to go away by yourself, and simply be.” Eileen Caddy