“Nature does not hurry,
yet everything is accomplished.”
~ Lao Tzu
It’s the first week back at work after the holidays and like most people, I’m trying to get back into my usual routine. There’s just one problem: it’s not working for me.
My usual routine is regimented. I get up around 6am, do some yoga, and work until 6 or 7pm or later. I also work a few hours most weekends. The reason I work a lot is because I feel guilty when I’m not working. I’ve been taught to keep going and not to stop.
But due to a stubborn cold, over the Christmas break I started sleeping in until 8am. I didn’t do any work unless I felt inspired to. My schedule was loose and unregimented, which made me feel relaxed and happy.
Surprisingly I accomplished a ton of work over the holidays that I didn’t even anticipate doing. One morning I started writing and the words didn’t stop flowing for 2 days. I wrote a 5000 word article on how to achieve a healthy weight through inner awareness, and then I turned it into an audio program. In under a week I created something incredibly valuable to offer on my website.
I also set up a new newsletter, re-vamped my website, and figured out how to turn my vlog into a podcast on iTunes. All of these little projects were completely spontaneous. I would wake up, feel inspired to do something, and then do it. I accomplished way more than I usually do and in less time, because I stopped and gave myself permission to do nothing.
The whole experience made me wonder if I even need a rigid schedule or goals at all. If my primary goal is to be relaxed, happy, and fully present, is it possible that everything else will take care of itself? Could it be that I accomplish more when I do less?
This morning I came across an awesome TED talk by author and marketing expert, Scott Stratten. In the vid he talks about this crazy tendency we have: “keep going and don’t stop”. It’s the need to persevere and push through life at all costs. Most of us think this way because we’re conditioned to think there’s valor in the struggle.
What this video reminded me of is that in the end, pushing forward without stopping doesn’t give us anything but a heart condition. It isn’t the amount of ACTION that determines if we will be happy or successful in our lives; it’s the degree of PRESENCE we bring to each day that determines how happy or efficient we will be.
The secret of life is to enjoy it. This morning I slept in ‘till 8am, did some yoga, and now I’m enjoying my writing from an inspired place. I’m getting way more “accomplished” than I did yesterday when I forced myself out of bed at 6am, because I’m doing what I FEEL I should do instead of what I THINK I should do. Being a work nazi is no longer something I’m interested in perpetuating.
How can you can’t stop and smell the roses if you’re too busy to notice that they’re there?