Life is extremely busy. We're all pulled in so many different directions, with so many things we need to get done, that it's easy to get lost in the grind and forget what we're working towards. It's easy to just keep your head down trying to keep up with all the demands of your business and your family. While taking an hour or so out of your crazy schedule may seem counterproductive, let me tell you why it's an extremely important ritual you need to incorporate into your calendar on a regular basis, starting today.
- Time to breathe - As I said, life is crazy busy. Stepping back from the chaos is a necessity to clear your mind and just be able to breathe and not be trying to accomplish or think about a million things at once.
- Reflection - When you're alone with your own thoughts, without the distractions of all the things you need to do, you can gain a lot of perspective on where you are in your life, and where you'd like to be headed. Being so busy and always having so many things to think about means we don't really ever have time to look at what it is we're really trying to accomplish and what we're spending our time and energy on. Time to reflect just doesn't happen unless we intentionally create the time and space to do it. Too often we get so caught up in trying to keep up that we don't even pay attention to if what we're doing is even what we want to be doing or if it's getting us any closer to our objectives. When is the last time you asked yourself if what you're doing day to do is what you really want to be doing, or if what you're spending your time on is helping you reach the goals you've set out to achieve? If you don't take time to reflect on this, you can waste years of your life only to finally look back and realize you spent all that time on something you either didn't enjoy or that didn't help you in your quest to reach your goals and pursue your passions.
- Reconnect with your "why" - This is a perfect time to remind yourself and think on what your "why" is. Remember why you're working so hard, what it is you're trying to accomplish. When things are busy we can lose touch with what that is for us as it gets drowned out by the noise of our daily lives. Get away from the day-to-day "what" you do and re-focus on why it is you're doing it. Go even deeper if you can. Is your currently defined "why" still your why, or have you or your business changed to the point where you need to redefine it? Do you even have a "why"? Have you ever even thought about it? These are the tough questions that you need to ask yourself to challenge or confirm if you're on the right path.
- Adjust your path - It may not be during the first time you do this, but if you keep the ritual, you will discover things about yourself, gain perspectives you didn't think about before, and think of new ideas or paths for your business or personal life. Don't just have these moments and forget about them! If it's something you can make an adjustment on now, do it today. If it requires some additional preparation or planning, set some tasks up and put things in motion right away to head in that new direction. I always have a journal with me so I can log my thoughts as soon as they enter my mind.
Here are some tips to make the most of your time of reflection.
- Plan in advance - Decide where you will go, what setting you will be in, and some of the things you want to think on during your time. This isn't set in stone. For goodness sakes don't bring a "to do" list with you! However, having a general idea of what you want to be thinking on will help direct your thoughts towards those things. That said, sometimes it's good just to go, clear your mind of the clutter, and see where your thoughts go. It's also good to be open to spontaneity and just finding a place nearby, especially if you travel a lot.
- Find a quiet place that speaks to you - What speaks to you and what helps you think deeper and more clearly? For me it's usually going for a walk in a wooded area or spending time somewhere in nature, but it could be anywhere you are comfortable, feel inspired and won't be distracted.
- Eliminate all distractions - Turn off your cell phone, get away from the conversations around you and get off by yourself. You need to get away from all of these things to give yourself time to get into your own head and listen to your own thoughts. Your phone ringing or dinging at you will completely disrupt your flow of thought and won't give you the opportunity to get truly into deep thinking.
- Let things go - Your time won't be well spent and you won't get anything out of it if you're just thinking about the work you "should" be doing instead. Let those things completely go. They can wait for an hour.