Getting stuff done is the by-product of a good day, not the point of it.
My wife has Adrenal fatigue. She bore, then homeschooled, four children in ten years while I built a career (not this one... the old one!). Now we've moved to Bali, the kids are in school, I work from home, she's does Pilates, gets massages, good food... and she's exhausted.
What's going on?
The truth is, in slowing down she has hit a wall many of us expend a great deal of energy avoiding: the fact that, under the energy and the hype, we're actually worn out. We're like addicts, we say "I can stop anytime I want to, I just don't want right now..." then we try to slow down only to discover we actually don't know how!
I have more than a few clients who are exhausted and don't even know it. We push through because that's how we're trained. Even my children (now attending a 'proper' school) are so busy. Being that busy is mind-numbing, it's certainly soul-numbing.
People join my programs to discover who they really are, what their gift in life is, what they have spent a lifetime learning that they can now give back, but so often the first thing they have to deal with is that they are simply exhausted!
There are heaps of strategies on the web, in books etc. but doing MORE is probably not what you're looking for... even if it's adding something 'good' like yoga or massage or even meditation (though, to be honest, meditation is probably the exception that proves the rule).
At its heart, somehow, you have to address the driver that got you exhausted in the first place: what are you avoiding by being so busy, what experience does being busy/stressed/unhappy mean you don't have to have!
This is actually quite a confronting conversation because it means we're responsible for the busyness, the stress, the angst. Not the world around us and not in an abstract way. It doesn't look that way with the bills, the paperwork, the deadlines and demands... I invite you to just try on that you are causing the busyness, the stressful lifestyle, for a few minutes and see what you see (you can reject the idea after this article!)
When I started slowing down a few years ago it was anger at my folks I was avoiding being with ... I took a year off from my job as the CEO of a small environmental not-for-profit when I was 38 in order to 'find my passion'. My family and I travelled through Europe in a motorhome for a year. The country was beautiful, the food amazing. It was a dream-come-true.... except it wasn't. There, in all its ugliness, was the anger and the upset that I had been so assiduously avoiding while I built my successful career. Not a fun couple of months for anyone I'm ashamed to say (thought the instagram shots were great). I'm glad I did it. It was uncomfortable but being with it has allowed me to build the life I (and all my family) now get to live.
The 'Doing' Bit
My 76 year-old acupuncturist/savant told me that we're meant to live 50% doing and 50% being. How much are you just 'being' in the day?
- Imagine that the focus of your day is the 'being' parts: walking, listening to music, reading, having naps, maybe doing nothing at all. How much of your day is that? They are the Golden Parts.
- Now imagine that all the 'doing' bits are things you have to jam into the day around those golden parts. How you could privilege the gold, even if it's only small chunks?
- Look at how you could add a few new bits of gold: reading on a park bench, listening to classical music before sleep or in the car. It doesn't have to be alone (though for me, that's important), just look at where you can add a few, maybe another 5%?
- Keep privileging the 'gaps'... they are the most important bits, even if they are also the smallest. The amount of time you spend with yourself isn't the most important bit (though it;s also important), if you want to achieve more balance in your life you need to put those little pieces of gold FIRST, and fit the rest in around them...
3. Get a free pre-order of our book (just pay shipping). It’s called “Midlife Creation: how to take charge of the second half of your life". Just email “BOOK PLEASE” and I’ll send you a copy when it is published (around December).