In my November 8th Work-Life Recharge video I asked you how you’re going use up the last 7 weeks of 2017, and challenged you to set a goal and kick it in to gear so you can finish the year strong. I hope you’ve given it some thought and are taking those first steps. I also made my own declaration that from now until the end of the year I will write at least a chapter each week for my second book. A book I have been trying to write all year. And I will post a second blog each week (every Thursday) that will share segments of the new book.
This post represents the first of those efforts. The working title of the book is: Recharge! Disconnect from ‘Busy’ and Plug-in to a Life You Love, so I thought I’d begin by sharing the Preface, which is pretty much complete, as it explains my motivation for this title and topic. I welcome your thoughts and feedback, and if you have ideas you’d like included in the book (assuming it’s related to the topic 😉 ) I’d love to hear what they are.
“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
~ John Lennon
If a good friend asked you in this moment, “Do you love your life?” how would you answer? Think about that for a moment. I mean really think about it. It’s a pretty big question. Do you love your life? I mean really love it?
Do you love the people in your life – your family, friends, co-workers, your relationship? Do you love your level of personal health? Do you live each day with purpose and enough play to be happy and joyful? Do you have enough money to feel secure and to have a bit of flexibility to do what you want?
Do you wake up most days excited to get up and seize the freakin’ day? I hope so. It’s a great way to head into each day. But if you don’t, you’re not alone. As I researched this book, I surveyed over 400 individuals at every age and walk of life and asked them that one question: Do you love your life? The responses interested me, but I wasn’t entirely surprised.
Happily, 6.5% of respondents said with certainty, I love my life, I wouldn’t change a thing. If that’s you, keep doing what you’re doing, and pat yourself on the back, because I know it takes a bit of work.
67% said: I love my life but I have things I need to work on. It seems most of us hang out in this ‘things can always be better’ space, but if nothing changed we’d still be living a pretty awesome life. If you’re here, you are primed for good stuff because anything you do will only add to a pretty darn good life.
2% of respondents admitted they don’t like their life very much right now. I never like to hear that, but I’ve been there, so I can tell you that better is possible. 5% said they like their life some of the time, and 20% or so were right down the middle. If you identify with any of these areas, I hope I can share some information here that will get you on the path to feeling good, better, great about your life, because we only get one kick at the can.
Every single one of us wants to be able to say Yes, I love my life, and most of us work at it as best we can, but it’s not always easy is it?
Life is busy. For most of us anyway. There’s a day-in-day-out routine that each of us has, that we often initiate on auto-pilot. Get up, eat, work, eat, sleep, repeat. Get up, eat, get the kids going, work, eat, workout, sleep, repeat. Get up, eat, walk the dog, work, work, work, eat, sleep, repeat. The variables change from person to person, and most of us have a lot more of them, but you get the drift. Get up, do life, sleep, repeat.
There’s zero problem with any of it if you like what you’re doing and all the variables are working well for you. I hope they are. Yet for many of us, life is busy. It may be deliciously busy, but it’s busy, and when life drags you in multiple competing directions on any given day, some of the important life stuff may fall through the cracks; time for yourself, regular exercise, more sleep, more down-time, more travel, time to do the things you really want to do, or even time to just think about what you really want to do. You don’t mean for it to happen, it just happens in the daily ebb and flow of life.
To me there are two kinds of busy. There’s normal busy – having a lot of things to do, and then there’s ‘busy’ – doing a lot of things. You may be thinking, What’s the difference? It lies in awareness and execution – what you choose to do and how you choose to do it.
You can be busy and mindful at the same time. Normal busy means you tackle to dos deliberately, you pay attention to priorities, and you don’t waste time on the frivolous. Your day may be full – an important meeting, necessary reading, a worthwhile conversation, a workout, a phone call – but it’s productive.
The second kind of busy, that I’ve labelled ‘busy’, often happens unconsciously, or under stress. In a ‘busy’ day you navigate almost mechanically, on auto-pilot, often filling time with unnecessary distractions or low priority tasks, without thinking whether what you’re doing is the best use of your time at any given moment.
A ‘busy’ day may include important meetings, phone calls and errands, but mixed in, you’ll also find time and energy drains like another unnecessary meeting, a task or volunteer commitment you should never have said yes to, running here and there due to poor scheduling, a-zillion-tiny-tasks that are low on your list, but they’ll only take a second.
Any free moment you find gets distracted away by what’s happening on your phone or social media. You tell yourself it’s a brain break, but it’s not. In a frenzied effort to stay relevant, caught up, and connected you only end up feeling disconnected and discontent. Plus, you’re too tired to exercise, and have too much to do to consider your options. That’s ‘busy’, and it doesn’t feel nearly as satisfying or productive. Can you relate?
‘Busy’ has a way of clogging up breathing space in your work and your life, the same way dust and grime clog your car’s air filter. After a while it slows you down and makes you sluggish. And here’s the clincher; you won’t always notice when ‘busy’ has taken over, and when it does, it has the sneaky ability to pull you off-course from what’s truly important to you.
You trundle along on life’s daily path, auto-piloting your way through the variables – Get up, eat, kids to school, work, eat, sleep, repeat, walk the dog, work, work, eat, sleep, repeat, repeat, repeat– until one day you realize you’re tired. All the time. Or you feel like you need something more or different with work. Or you wonder where your health and vitality disappeared to, or when the spark in your relationship fizzled out.
The shift happens gradually, and it can take a while before you notice you’re off course. You may beat yourself up for not seeing the signs, or for not making the changes, or for not doing it sooner, but that’s life in all its brilliance and imperfections, all its highs, lows and heart breaks.
You may be inspired by the work you do, but be challenged by the people you do it with. You may have bold dreams, but lack the courage to make them happen. You may love the person you’re with, but wish for more from the relationship. Brilliance and imperfection. You may have a great job and great family life, but your physical health is holding you back. You may need a reboot after a difficult but much needed split. Or a redirect after getting laid off. Or a new routine after settling into a big move. Highs and lows. Or you’re starting again after the loss of a job, a loved one, a home. Heart break. It’s all part of life, and when you’re in it, it can feel like an energy drain without a plug.
Yet, with the right focus and execution, you can rise above it.
If you’re experiencing fatigue or discontent or downright unhappiness with any part of your life, it may be a sign that it’s time for a recharge. And if you’re feeling like that, how reviving would it be to pause and reevaluate, to re-prioritize, to pop in a fresh set of batteries, and recommit to what’s important for you?
It’s why I wrote this book, and if you’re holding it, maybe you’re feeling it – blah, uninspired, sad, frustrated, tired, unfocused, unproductive, unmotivated, lonely, bored, blocked, angry, beaten down. Hang in there. I want to show you that a fulfilling, healthy, abundant life is possible, that big goals are achievable, that you can love your life. All of it.
True, I don’t know your life, but I want you to love it! So here we go!
Step one, recognize you’re stuck. If you navigate your day, so ‘busy’ you’re only half-conscious to what’s important, if you feel like there’s room for better, and if it’s been awhile since you last considered what you want or need for yourself, it’s time for a recharge.
Step two, pause, plug in to your life, and ask yourself; What’s working? What’s not? What do I want more of? What do I need to say no to? What needs to change?
In an ideal word, it’s something we would all do regularly; to sit and really think about what’s important, and what we want in our lives. Deep down we already know the answers …most of them anyway. The problem is that we don’t give ourselves the time. Because we’re ‘busy’. Busy doing life. There’s often no time to contemplate what’s next! Well, this book is an opportunity for you to check in with your daily routine, to explore possibilities, to disconnect from ‘busy, and plug in to a life you love.
If that sounds good, step three is to take the next step. You picked up this book, so keep reading. Recharge! will help you get clear about your priorities, show you how to kick ‘busy’ in the ass, and move toward a daily routine that sounds more like this: Get up, dream big, do the freakin’ work, grow as a person, sleep, repeat. More fun, more fulfilling and definitely more focused.
So how about it? Create a life you love, in small steps, starting now. Even if you don’t think you have the time. Especially if you don’t. Even if you don’t think you have the energy. You’ll get it by simply beginning. And if you don’t think you’re ready, take a step anyway, because there is almost no such thing as ready.
Tune in next week for another segment of my in-progress book 2: Recharge! Disconnect from ‘Busy’ and Plug-in to a Life you Love
Certified Speaking Professional (CSP)
Certified Exercise Physiologist (CEP)
Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC)
ORSC Trained Team Coach
Live Energetically ~ Do Work You Love ~ Get the Most Out of Life