I’ve been on a quest this summer to slow down. Life feels so incredibly busy all the time and I’ve been working on being more present, instead of working ten steps ahead in my head with no time to actually think. Except the more I do that, the more stuff seems to come up. It’s the proverbial peeling of an onion. My obsessive cleaning friends will get this…it’s like when you’re cleaning your house and the more you clean, the more stuff you see to clean. Next thing you know, you’re on baseboards, windows, and look out garage, you’re next.
That’s how it’s been trying to slow down my brain and life. This week, I’ve continued to work on doing one thing at a time instead of multi-tasking. I’ve also started thinking about screen time. I consider myself a moderate to low phone user. I use it at work, there’s a little time spent on social apps, I research and diagnose myself with diseases on it (just sayin…Mayo Clinic is a reputable site…my doctor said so), ok, I can see the list is getting a little long. And yet, I think I don’t use it as much as others I know. But…I could use it less. Although, full disclosure, I think I’ve picked up my phone five times in the short time I’ve been writing this post, because I could not live without know the hour by hour weather today? Or sending a picture to my friend of something that struck me as funny?
I listened to a podcast my friend sent me this week exploring how spending so much time on our mobile devices can actually limit our creativity. Our brains stay occupied with what everyone else is saying and doing and we don’t spend time in our own creative genius space. At the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, speaker Juliet Funt spoke about the concept of White Space (check her out on YouTube). Creating time to think strategically, not meditation, but carved out time to let your mind wander – in a strategic way. I loved this concept – completely aligned with my focus in the last couple months.
I remember when I did a half-Ironman a couple years ago (first and only – kinda a bucket list thing), we couldn’t use headphones, so basically, no phone use the entire time – which for me was quite a while considering I walked the run portion. Oddly enough, it was amazing. My brain wandered all over the place…I spent a lot of time with God…I saw things in my life clearly…I felt calm and at peace. I can see now that was White Space. In the Bible, Jesus left to be alone with God and pray. Time for clarity. Leaders go on retreats to get away from day to day…to get clarity. Clarity is a White Space concept.
So how does all that fit into slowing down? If I look at the goal of slowing down, it’s really to feel rested and have clarity on the things that really matter. Get into my creative space, think and plan strategically, and gain energy. What stops me? Me. If you’re trying to find more time in your life, what stops you? You. Sometimes we might feel like we’re along for the ride in life because we’re bombarded with doing. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There’s a choice to make and it’s a choice I’m making. If I don’t start making time to slow down and create that White Space Juliet Funt spoke about, I’m going to keep feeling like I’m jumping from one thing to the next – like changing channels. Each of us has the ability to take back our lives from the fake need to keep up with everyone else’s lives. Let’s make the choice to live and be in our own lives. Our lives are definitely worth showing up and being our best for. Are you in? Let’s do it…be brave.