I am reading Flow and finding it somewhat inspiring and definitely interesting. I am also getting frustrated.
Earlier this week, I made a conscious decision to start paying attention to when I feel like I am rushing and try to stop. To step back, breathe, and go all in to whatever it is I am doing without any time pressure in multiple contexts: laundry-folding, child care, patient notes. It started out well, but halfway through a busy office day and I realized that I couldn’t just opt out of the race. Because DO THIS DO THAT GET THIS DONE NOW! started to pile up, and — just like that, I lost my zen mojo.
I’m not ready to give up, but the failed attempt did make me sad. I don’t think I am harried because I am not managing my time well; I think I am harried because there is far too much (*@#* to do and not enough time to do it.
// end rant. Maybe the secret is buried somewhere later in the book. Off to bed to read more.
I’m reading a different book, The Organized Mind, which talks about some of this. The author notes that when he met Pres. Jimmy Carter, Carter was able to completely focus on the conversation at hand and seemed very relaxed. Why? The nature of his job meant he offloaded absolutely everything else. These VIPs don’t have to worry about little things like remembering to buy milk. They don’t have to worry about bigger things, like whether this is the right appointment to have right now — the staff has already optimized that. And they don’t even have to worry about when the appointment will end, because someone will come get our VIP to usher him to the next thing. It’s not that they don’t have to make huge decisions (obviously) but you can be in the moment when there’s a huge apparatus around you. Of course, most of us don’t get that! So achieving that calm, in-the-moment state is about how much you can successfully automate and offload. Sometimes it’s easier than others and probably not so easy with small kids and a very detail oriented job.