Isn’t it weird how it goes? On Thursday evening you decide you’ve got through the week in more or less one piece and your to-do list for next week is all set. So you start Friday with half an hour of yoga, some paperwork and a few others things you decide to stop putting off. And just when you’re starting to settle back into work mode and familiarize yourself with your next assignment, wham! All your customers wake up at the same time and need everything back on the same date. Yep, it’s Friday afternoon 3:15 p.m., that time of the week when the jobs with the ridiculous deadlines start making their way through the ether and into your inbox.
I find it easy to get caught in the rat race and forget to stop. So I decided to make myself stop by committing myself to exercising. I’d become so good at using even the stupidest excuse to stay glued to my chair and work till I dropped that I truly didn’t think I’d be able to do it. It was just a commitment to myself anyway.
But last year was different. I not only made a commitment to myself to exercise, I made damn sure I kept it. And after just 11 months, I could hardly believe I had survived the last 10 years glued to my chair. I even found myself needing to step up the pace and now go to the gym three times a week.
After reading The Joy of Quiet by Pico Iyer I knew why I had kept that commitment: it’s the quiet. The ability to either switch your mind off or on to other things, the ability to be with yourself, and even sink into yourself, is almost addictive. Exercising apparently gives me the rush I need to deal with the sometimes crazy days I find myself racing through. There’s something intensely soothing about listening to my heart beat, feeling the blood rush through my veins and focusing on my breathing.
But if exercise isn’t your thing, try sleeping. Juliette Scott, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at a conference in Lisbon last year, shared a must-watch presentation by Arianna Huffington at TED Women in her post on New Year’s resolutions. As Ms. Huffington explains, the best way of being successful is by sleeping your way to the top.
I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions because, let’s face it, nothing ever comes of them anyway. But I do reflect on the things that went well and less well and remind myself that I need to keep or stop doing them. So if you do nothing else, do heed the words of Marshall McLuhan “When things come at you very fast, naturally you lose touch with yourself,” and remember to take a step back and relax.