Do you know what I miss most about the “olden days”? Apart from family suppers, being able to see people whenever I want to, going out for meals on a whim, not having to wash my hands 17 times a day, browsing in bookshops and supermarkets (and so much more), that is?
I miss the spells of down time throughout my day. The time I spent driving to and from my office. The interactions with my colleagues as we caught up in the staff kitchen between clients. The chatter that took place while waiting for a meeting or a seminar to begin. I’m even beginning to miss that period between checking through airport security and waiting to board the plane!
It’s not just the opportunities for (sometimes random) human interaction, it’s the stretches of nothingness. The times when there’s nothing to be done but just be. A lot of insights and ideas landed in those moments while waiting for the lights to turn green, or people watching in a busy airport terminal.
For the last six months, I have been speaking to clients about the value of creating buffers for ourselves during this crazy time: the importance of ensuring a pause between online meetings, of being mindful about moving towards our work in the morning and away from it at the end of the day, of taking proper breaks in the day to have a cup of tea or coffee and a healthy, unhurried lunch. It is always important to take (or make) the gaps of downtime that are presented to us, but it has been particularly valuable to create some breathing space for ourselves this year.
Now, at last, we are starting to move towards the unfolding of the “coming days” and we have the opportunity to think about and set up how we would like to create the buffers in our day that help us to rest, recharge and connect – with ourselves and others, and with our creativity and ideas – in the latest iteration of our reality.
This morning I came across this wonderful article (https://hbr.org/2020/08/how-to… ) in the Harvard Business Review which presents some really nice ideas about how to make the most of our time in these strange times. I loved it and I think you will too.
We are into the home stretch of 2020 and I would like to invite you to create as many opportunities for down time as you possibly can in order to help you to get to the finish line. It isn’t hard to craft oases of peace and calm and joy in your days; go outside and turn your face to the sun, take off your shoes and walk on the grass, listen to the birds, watch the sun go down (or come up), eat a delicious and nutritious lunch, connect with a friend or loved one while drinking a cuppa…there are so many small but meaningful and rewarding things that we can do in the spaces we create for ourselves.
Until next time, mind (or make) the gaps.