I have often heard it said that the faster a person goes, the faster they have to go. In other words, business is addicting. So much so, that the more a person accomplishes in a single day, the more the feel compelled to accomplish the next day. And the next and the next! I personally have had the experience of feeling emotionally happy if I complete my To-Do list like crap if I don’t. Talk about self-imposed stress!
Yet I know that I am not the only person to deal with this “Busy is Best” epidemic. As an American I have been schooled to think that action is everything—progress, achievement, a sense of self-worth. Unfortunately, the faster I go, the faster my mind goes. And when my day is being dictated by what To-Do list item needs to be met next, my mind never seems to have a chance to rest, relish the present moment, or reflect. My thoughts feel as if they are spinning dervishly like a top—afraid if I stop “doing” I’ll lose my edge and drop.
The price one pays for running at this racing clip is collected at night when one cannot get to sleep nor stay asleep. Insomnia sets in and the risk of becoming ill or seriously in danger of depleting one’s immune system sneaks up on us and wields a mighty blow. Then to keep going we succumb to sucking down coffee, ingesting sugary foods, and relying on nicotine to supplant the edge that is slowly but surely disappearing from us.
And then at the end of the day to wind down we often resort to too much TV, too many video games, and too many hours surfing the internet. Now we can’t sleep no matter how hard we try. What’s worse is we think have a sleeping disorder, which we do symptomatically speaking, but what we really have is a To-Do list of the first order.
My suggestion is three-fold. First, get rid of your To-Do list, or at the very least shorten it. Second, find time to supplant business with relaxation—like a bubble bath, a walk in nature, meditation or a short nap. Finally, take time out before going to bed at night to slowly prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep. Stay away from chemical stimulants as well as technology and media influences so that your body as well as your mind have a chance to slow down before you attempt to close your eyes. I know it will not be easy at first to follow this recipe for we are already addicted to the speediness of our day. However, I promise you in the long run you will have an even more productive day as a result as well as a more restful and healthy sleep.