Post holiday truths – How to use your ‘stop and think’ time.
Writing this on the plane back from the yearly family getaway I was struck this year by how calm I have become over the 10-day period. Somehow I don’t think my favorite drink had anything to do with it.
No, it was much deeper than that. This year I had decided long before we traveled that I would have some ‘stop-and-think’ time. It was time to take stock of everything but not to stress too much about an action plan when I got home.
The more I ‘stopped’ the less I was thinking and I found that, without much work on my part, answers and ideas came, not more frequently but more creatively, free from any time constraints. I feel, for me, that the more I try to think my way out of any situation the more false urgency arises about what I need to do and when it needs to be done. Yes, there are things we need to do and organize in a timely fashion but if you do not have a viable and creative plan of action the circle of failure you are trying to escape will become larger and larger, increasing the time it takes to finish your task.
“Just do it!” is great if you are a person who enjoys risk without planning but I would like to add another soundbyte-ready slogan. “Just stop it!”
Also “Just think it!” could work as well at the same time.
The one mistake I will not make is to come back from holiday assuming that I have all the answers. The one thing I will assume is that I have a new set of questions ready for a number of scenarios and challenges.
To stop, or not to stop? That is the question. When do we get the time? That is simple. One less Facebook post. One less soap episode. One less gossip-filled telephone conversation. One less over-priced coffee and the time spent queuing for it and believe me you will have the time (and a little more money in your pocket if you like coffee as much as I do). Just stop. And just stop long enough to think.
Also keep a notepad handy. You will be surprised at how much a good brain clear-out can do for your week.
You don’t have to go on holiday to do this either. If you have a lot going on and none of it is working particularly well then you do have the time to stop. A lack of success in any area is normally accompanied by long periods of nothing and nowhere moments. If everything is working out just fine for you then congratulations! You are officially too busy for any problems because your life is working exactly the way you want it to. Go have a drink. Or maybe not – as it may hinder your progress!
I am constantly reminded that thoughts are things and that even when they look as if they have not produced a physical result, there is some physicality to what those thoughts do. Even if it is just to stop you in your tracks with fear or some other useless or incorrectly used emotion.
How will I track my personal progress and growth with my newfound open plan approach? I will track it with how happy I am with the results or even lack of results I obtain. I say happy with the lack of results because sometimes, letting a moment or opportunity pass you by maybe exactly what you need to do.