We’re all busy, except when we’re not. In these modern lives, we will drive ourselves nearly senseless trying to balance pretty much everything that we choose to care about: Family dynamics, work deliverables, personal bucket lists all fit here. Within this melee of busyness, we sleep. So, we find that increasingly, we are either going or we are sleeping. Does it have to be that way? Is there a limbo where we can be going just a little bit, or enjoy more of the “chill moments” of life right before sleep? I won’t tell you that these times exist, but I will make some suggestions on ways to answer the question for yourself.
Some People’s Kids
Children. Progeny. Kidlets. Time vampires. That’s right, regardless of Facebook’s continual posts to the contrary, not everyone is super psyched to lock into their children’s every breath each day. It’s doesn’t mean you love them any less either, but there’s a way to enjoy parenthood without deferring everything else.
A) Talk to your kids sometimes like you’re talking to anyone else. Just take a normal tone with them that’s not coddling, condescending or conceding. This creates a little less of an environment where you’re “parenting” and more of one where you’re simply getting things done for the day.
B) Give a kid some credit here. Rewards and feedback in the workplace are pretty similar in nature to how we should treat our smaller ones. Think about throwing the classic break-room-ice-cream-social for when your kids achieve a breakthrough or long-term effort. Not as huge as a birthday party, better than a pat on the back.
C) Focus group, except with stuffed animals. Get a little insight into the cognitive essence of your next generation by taking an hour to have them answer questions posed by someone else while you watch. We all know they act differently around others than they do their parents. Then, act on the info you were gifted.
Even if you work at home, you have a moment in the day where you’re probably in transition from home mode to work mode. Others have a more obvious car or bus ride where they’re gearing up or winding down. This is a perfect time to exercise your mind that’s neither work, nor play. I use it to listen to the news. It’s about the only time I consider the world or local news during the day, but it’s not work, it’s not family and it is a lot of other things to think about that stretches your brain: Geopolitics, sports, human interest, art, science and more. What is your interest that you can fill this transition time with? Make a concentrated effort to spend 5 or 55 minutes in this transition time to relax your brain from what you HAVE to think about and look forward to what you WANT to think about. If I had a longer commute, I’d probably be typing this in another language…
The Grocery Store
Full disclosure- I am not a grocery store creeper. That protested; I do find it fascinating to watch how people approach their responsibilities to feed themselves and their families. This probably comes from my prior culinary and customer service career, but nonetheless, it’s very interesting. Every now and then you see relative strangers chatting in the aisles. Maybe it’s kvetching about the produce. Maybe it’s a referral to organic pasta. Maybe it’s consensus about the excitement of a sporting event these five bags of peanuts are headed to. Each time I see this, or am involved myself, I think it’s a great reminder of the shared experience we have as humans, regardless of anything else. We got to eat and we’re primarily social creatures. What should be happening is that the whole store should really be chatting all up and down the aisles, not just by exception. When you ease the pain of the mundane, and encourage the sources of honest interaction, lo and behold actual fun happens. This is evident at the work water cooler, copy machine or lunch line. It’s not a program or process to be mapped, but it can be made into a cushion for the day’s hard edges that is neither required drudgery nor fitful resting.
I emphasize that these are ideas and tactics you might consider to make life a little more enjoyable, and a little less black and white. What it really comes down to is creativity and inspiration. Do you want to try and see a new angle to the edges of your life? Does the possibility of one more laugh or moments of awareness in your day sound like something of value? Would your other, required parts of the day (work, sleep) benefit from these kinds of additions? I know when it happens to people around me and myself it makes life more fluid.
Blogging by guest, Jason Goux
Senior Project Manager at Medica
“It’s a big world, get out there.”