Thoughts for Conscious Growth
Lately, my work schedule has been nothing short of crazy. Within the past month I've taken on fifteen, yes fifteen new clients. I'm booked solid two weeks in advance from 8am to 6pm. Every day when I wake up at 4:30 in the morning, the first thing the little voice in my head asks is, "What is the absolutely most critical thing I need to do today for a client?" Crazy.
As human nature tends to be, I try to explain away my busyness to others, "Oh, my schedule is just crazy lately!" What's so funny, and interesting is that no one, not one single person feels for me. 100% of the time the response I get back is something like, "Yeah, I know what you mean. My life is insanely busy too." Of course, that little part of me (and you have it in you also) secretly becomes somewhat indignant and I find I have to resist the urge to reinforce just how busy I really am...which means obviously (to that little part of me) that my ego much more invested in my self-importance than the work I do or my own personal growth.
The other day I was talking to clients who are both out of work and looking to start a new business. I made my usual little "busy speech" and got the same reply, "Tell us!" she exclaimed, "Our life is nuts right now!" Wait a minute! They don't even have jobs! That part of me who wants so desperately to feel so exceptional was literally up in arms. Now that's really the crazy part!
First of all, no one forces me or any other individual to take on more than we can handle. I do it willingly. Admit it. You do to. How much my ego is involved is my responsibility. Maybe I volunteer to take on some task or responsibility for purely altrusistic reasons. Maybe I love the challenge or the variety or the social aspect of being involved in a new activity. Overall, though, that feeling of overwhelm is pretty relative and the level of responsibility each of us can handle is also individual to each person and personality type.
How each of us handles or deals with the sensation of overwhelm is idiosyncratic also. We are lucky to live in a culture where it is acceptable to "talk out" those anxious feelings that might come with having too much to do. Some people find that exercise or spending time outdoors in some physical activity fills the need for balance. Meditation can be very helpful and that can be as simple as spending five to ten minutes focusing on deep and slow breathing to center oneself again. Others find a change in pace that a hobby or personal activity provides as helpful. What we all need to be aware of and resist is the use of alcohol or drugs to unwind. In this case, a little can be fine, but more becomes highly counter-productive.
What I've discovered for myself is that I actually need to schedule my personal time, my down time. Assuming that it will occur on its own doesn't work for me. In other words, if it isn't on my schedule it doesn't exist.
These days when I wake up at 4:30 in the morning, the first thing I do is spend a little time in meditation. It helps me center myself so I can face my busy day. Then, after I put coffee or tea on, I head out to do my workout routine. Exercise is a great stress reliever and, I find, a great way to begin my day. The other thing I do is devote time to daily conversation with my partner. He's my rock, supports my work and is my biggest fan...as I hope I am for him. Sharing a fun activity on the weekend with him has allowed me to put more focus on my work and clients during the week, which in some odd way, gives me a sense of more freedom. I also try to make Friday my office day so I can catch up on paperwork, review our project schedule with my assistant, get in some training or mentoring myself and touch base with colleagues.
The challenge of maintaing balance is always ongoing. Its pretty easy to sacrifice time to fit a client in. I find if I give up an hour on a Friday to a client, that one hour easily becomes three. Knowing this about myself, I try to avoid booking clients on a Friday unless it is absolutely necessary, which happens. Flexibility is part of balance.
Now, my next challenge is to let go of that ego thing which makes me want to feel so important for choosing to accept a full life!
Growing pains, life experiences that change us, philosophies, introspection and contemplation