I’ve been spending some of my after work time lately coming to this area in St. Petersburg, Florida. I lost a very dear friend, and the day after his passing, I came here to take a breather after a long day of work with pent up emotions inside me. As soon as I came out of my car and felt the breeze on my face, heard the waves crashing into the rocky shore, and saw the birds flying around, I instantly felt better. Going to this place did it for me. It gave me what I needed, and that was to slow down and just process my thoughts in a calm and soothing environment.
Although we can’t just tell the feelings to go away, sometimes, it’s just a matter of sorting through them to find some kind of clarity and calm to move forward. Many people such as myself thrive in being busy. Productivity is the goal of the day, everyday! Work, work, work! In the hustle and bustle of work, however, it can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to sort through our emotions and daily experiences. Deadlines, meetings, and to-do lists take precedence over matters of the heart and soul.
Slowing down is necessary in order to refocus, recharge and reset much of the mental clutter we accumulate in life. We can’t always just move full steam ahead. Even if we could, we would be missing out on some beautiful things in life. It’s like driving in an interstate highway at 75 mph or faster. Okay, so you’re getting to your destination at a high rate, but you don’t notice much of what you’re passing. But in this complex world we live in, much of what we are ignoring could just be what would make us more productive.
How much better can you work if your mind is not so bogged down by mental clutter that doesn’t have to be there? During my years in school of architecture, “all-nighters” was a daily thing. Students working in the studio would spend all night working on projects on a regular basis. In retrospect, I believe I would’ve been more productive if I actually took the time to come home early enough to get at least 6 hours of sleep and come back to the studio early in the morning bright and refreshed. As a working professional, I find that to be more productive. There are times when at the end of a long busy day at work, I find myself staring at the computer screen working a lot slower than I did earlier in the day. Unless there’s a deadline, moving right along anyway is understandable. But on other days, it doesn’t seem to make much sense clocking in those hours as productive, because they are not. The way I see it, it’s like ripping off my employer or client because I would be putting time on my timesheet where I didn’t actually work that much. These days, I make sure I end my night mentally decluttered and rested, reasses my day (or life in general), read a book to slow down, and get enough sleep so I would be able to put in at least 8 very productive working hours the following day. They say your last emotion the night before is generally your first emotion when you wake-up. If you have not done your work to declutter your mind the night before, you’ll just be taking yesterday’s stress to today!
Many people think that stressing out is a sign that they care. It’s not entirely true. It means they’re emotionally invested, but it doesn’t actually help the situation. So whether it’s work, family, health, friends or anything else, if you truly care about them, you would do what it takes to make yourself useful to them. Stressing out doesn’t make people “more” useful. In fact, it’s just detrimental. You can focus better on what matters to you if you are of sound mind and body.
Take that time after work to walk around your neighborhood and say a few hello’s. Go to the beach and watch the sunset. Maybe even before going to work, go that a quaint coffee shop to mentally process your tasks for the day while sipping that latte. During your lunch break, take the time to sit at a restaurant with outdoor seating and eat while basking in the beautiful midday weather. Taking that much needed time to just relax, unwind, and think from an observant point-of-view is a good way to actually help in your quest to be more productive and move forward.