The Balance Between Boredom and Überbusy

“One day we’ll catch our breath, right?” I sighed into the phone as my friend listened intently.

“Face it, Christine. You’d be miserable if you were bored.”

She’s right. Being challenged is an integral part of my happiness. Sitting around and navel-gazing isn’t really my thing, although there are some days when I’d love to issue one-way tickets to the moon to some of the less reasonable clients in my life.

But then where would I be without the daily slog of emails, press releases, content creation and the ensuing joy of making people famous?

The answer? Most likely, I’d be somewhere much warmer, sipping something wonderful from a coconut.

Or would I be?

The state of überbusyness we find ourselves in has a lot to do with our 24/7 availability. It’s so easy to check in with international clients instead of getting those continuous eight hours of sleep. I have had to force myself to place my cell phone in another room — turned off — completely. Airplane mode doesn’t count, people.

And for what do we drive ourselves insane? Why do we need to know what our clients are thinking at 3 a.m. our time?

We do not.

We are often so fearful of being bored that we’d rather run on the hamster wheel for the sake of movement than actually slow down, sit still and listen.

In this insane worldview, to be in the know is somehow better. Even if you can’t do anything about it because every other sane person in your part of the globe is actually sleeping.

Admittedly, I wrote the principles I laid out in The Power of Slow four years ago to remind myself that there is more to life than getting things done. In fact, more often than not, in doing less we get more done. It’s about smart energy management infused with an unstoppable joy for simply being alive.

Just for fun, let’s list those principles here.

Ten Steps to the Power of Slow

  1. Reframe your definition of time. It does not equal money. It equals your existence.
  2. Multitasking is a myth. It has been scientifically proven that heavy multitasking does not make you more efficient.
  3. Examine your habits. Which serve you? Which do not?
  4. Just say ‘no’ with a smile. Remember: saying ‘no’ to others often means ‘yes’ to yourself.
  5. Slay the inner pig dog by leaving Procrastination Station for good.
  6. Take time for leisure activities that feed your soul. A well-rested worker is a productive one!
  7. Mini time-outs help sustain your energy level throughout the day. Take an occasional breather to regeneration your mind, body and soul.
  8. Manage expectations. Clear communication can save you a ton of time!
  9. Focus by eliminating distraction. Discover when you are at your most creative. Schedule your activities accordingly.
  10. Delegation is not dumping, but playing to others’ strengths so you can play to yours.

We all walk the balance beam between bored and busy. If you topple to one side or the other, that’s okay. Just remember that it is easier to cross the beam at a slow pace. Running won’t get you there nearly as fast.

 

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