With all that has gone on around us these past months, from fires, floods to the impact of the virus, I noticed that many of us, sometimes, no longer feel in control. That is not unreasonable when businesses are shutting down, everyone has to change and work from home, the share market is going down, stocks are low, and there is talk of a recession.
So, I was looking for inspiration to write this newsletter and reviewed some of my favourite articles over the years. This one really jumped out.
Written by Tony Schwartz (http://theenergyproject.com/about/tony-schwartz) back in January 2013 in the HBR blog (https://hbr.org/2013/01/take-back-your-life-in-ten-ste.html), I thought his ten steps were powerful yet simple. You don’t have to do them all but gosh, they are a great place to start.
Here is his blog posting with the ten steps.
You’re smart, hard-working and good at what you do, but the truth is you also too often feel your life is just a relentless set of demands you have to meet, and too rarely a source of satisfaction. You long to feel more in control of your days, but the reality is you’re frequently racing just to keep up.
It doesn’t have to be this way, and the solution has to do with deeply embedding a series of simple practices into your life.
I have ten in mind, but it’s not realistic to add them all at once, assuming there are a number you don’t currently do. Instead, I hope to lead you on a journey in which you add them one at a time, sequentially, over the coming months. You don’t have to do all of them for your life to work really well, and even small changes will often deliver disproportionately large results. At the same time, it’s likely that the more of these you eventually add, the better and more in charge of your life you’ll feel.
The suggestions are in order from the most basic and fundamental, to the highest level.
- Get sufficient sleep every night. Sleep is often the single most undervalued behavior in our lives and the one with the most immediate power to improve our experience in every waking moment.
- Move more. It’s not only good for your heart’s health, but also for your mental health. Do some form of exercise that significantly raises your heart rate for 30 minutes at least four times a week and move frequently during the day.
- Eat less, more often. Food is fuel. Lean proteins and complex carbohydrates are high-octane fuel. You’re best off when you keep feeding your internal furnace in small doses throughout the day, beginning with breakfast.
- Renew more. Human beings aren’t designed to work continuously. We’re meant instead to move between spending and renewing energy. Ideally, take a break every 90 minutes, even if only to spend a minute or two breathing deeply.
- Invest in those you love. The greatest gift you can give is your absorbed attention. Better to be fully present with someone for an hour than physically present, but distracted, for multiple hours.
- Give thanks. We’re far quicker to notice what’s wrong in our lives than we are what’s right. At least once a week, handwrite and mail a note of appreciation to someone who deserves it, telling the person precisely what you’re grateful for.
- Do the most important thing first. Early in the morning, you’re likely to have the most energy and the fewest distractions. Start your workday by focusing without interruption, for 60 to 90 minutes, on the most important and/or challenging task you can accomplish that day.
- Practice reflection. We’re so preoccupied with the urgent that we rarely take time to think about what it is we’re doing. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes at the end of each work day (or in the evening) to reflect quietly and without interruption on what you learned that day, and what your highest priorities are for the following day.
- Keep learning. Our brains work better if we challenge them, and life becomes more interesting when we do. Reading books is a simple and surefire way to learn and grow, but so is building a daily practice around learning a new language, a sport, a musical instrument, or around how to write code, fix a car, or draw.
- Give back. Take at least one hour a week to put your own needs aside and devote that time instead to adding value to the world at large. One hour a week is very little time, but it’s a start — and it’s also more than most of us regularly give.
I am still working at doing more of each however I can say I am doing 6, 7 and 9 pretty well. I just need to attend to 2, 3 and 4 a little better. What about you?
If you’d like support to get your life back in control – get in touch today.