It’s midday Thursday and I am rushing to my third meeting of the day, knowing full well that the remaining day’s meets are back-to-back, and that my ‘to do list’ of 37 items (for today) is unlikely to be touched. I glance at the app (if I am honest probably for the 15th time today – I am slipping backwards on my 21 Days approach) and I look at the ‘red tasks’. NONE. I am happy. Red means ‘urgent’, HAS to be completed today. Breathe a sigh of relief, reaffirmation that these 37 items can be shifted to tomorrow, and move happily into ‘overdue’, joining the other 132.
I think: ‘there’s another blog in this to do list lark, must mention it to the team’. At which point my heart stops a beat – I haven’t written today’s weekly blog.
Panic hits. Mini heart palpitations. How could I have forgotten? (Easily, I didn’t add it to my to do list). More importantly, how can I fit it in to today’s packed diary?
Cut to 1700; I am now sitting in Green Park, having created a small window in my overfull schedule (long story), writing to you Hubbers, urging you to believe that this oversight is in no way reflective of my lack of passion for the Happynesshub and our community, but merely reflective of an unhealthy relationship with my To Do List app.
Now as many of you Hubbers will know, my To Do List was a weekly topic a while back, and I’m ashamed to say I don’t seem to have embraced my own advice. After 3 weeks abroad, spoilt with the daily yoga and meditation from Magical Marta, I genuinely returned to the UK with my meditation and Hubbing activities firmly in place. That was 10 days ago.
However, only a week ago (just after my last blog) meditations, Magical Marta’s magic, and all associated Happyness exercises had disappeared completely from my radar.
My morning breathing and yoga became replaced with emails. My evening meditation was replaced with more emails. And my Gratitude Diary was gathering dust on my bedside table. ‘Hypocrite’, I hear you shout.
Well the truth is, upon return to the UK I immediately hit that cycle again of just too much in my diary; just too many items on my to do list; and just not enough time in the day. My holiday felt like a distant memory, and my brain was ready to super-implode with information overload. Do you ever get that feeling where everything is just too much? And you feel almost ashamed, when so many horrid things of real importance are happening in the world, yet a full inbox, or an overflowing to do list is your main pre-occupation?
Well today’s blog is my very much-needed wake up call. What I’ve discovered in the last few hours is a handful of things. Sometimes it all feels worse than it is. Sometimes if you breathe, quieten your mind (if only for a couple of minutes – rock on Marta’s emergency meditation), and if you re-look at things from a different space, the inbox isn’t as full as it feels, the to do list can be ticked off quietly and calmly (panic-free) and that phone call you were dreading was not nearly as horrid as you imagined it to be.
Today has reminded me it’s a good idea to slow down, to embrace my daily meditation (if only for a few minutes) and to approach my current crazy schedule from a place of calm and detachment.
Research shows that actually slowing down and taking time out can improve productivity. Major fast-paced high tech companies like Google, Intel, Ford and LinkedIn offer meditation classes. It’s been found to lower stress levels, boost focus and increase productivity. One company even discovered that when it introduced these classes there was a 7% decrease in medical claims and an additional 62 minutes of productivity per work for each worker!
So it’s 1745 and my next meeting is at 1800. Instead of fitting in replying to 17 and a half emails maybe I should sit here, take in the beauty of the park, the children playing chase and the blue skies… and breathe. Then later on I’ll most likely be able to happily reply to 25 emails in just 15 minutes.
1755: time to go to my next meeting relaxed, focused and ready for action.