Slow Down this Day

Did you do a double-take when you read the title of this article? If so, read on. Most of what you experience each day, in terms of the passage of time, is based on your perception.

You can slow down time if you choose. How? Whenever you feel you’re racing the clock or trying to tackle too much at once, try this exercise:

Close your eyes for a minute. Imagine a pleasant scene. You might be surrounded by trees or with a loved one. It could be something from childhood. Let the emotions of that place and time pervade you. Get into it! Give yourself more than a minute for the visualization to take hold.

Open your eyes and return to what you’re doing. Whatever care or task you’re working on is not quite so bad and your pace is never quite so feverish.

Pause and Reflect

Imagine you’re flying on an airplane. You have a window seat, and it’s a clear day. As you gaze down to the ground below, what do you see? Life passing by. Cars the size of ants. Miniature baseball diamonds. Rivers the size of streams. There’s something about being at great heights that enables you reflect on your life.

The same phenomenon can take place from the top of a mountain or skyscraper. As often as practical things seem to be racing by too fast, seek higher ground, literally, for a clearer perspective.

If you’re among the lucky, perhaps you regularly allocate time for reflection or meditation. If you don’t, it’s no matter. There are other ways to make it all “slow down.”

After the workday, listen to relaxing music and close your eyes. A half hour of your favorite music with your eyes closed and no disturbances can seem almost endless. When you re-emerge, the rest of the day takes on a different tenor.

An effective method for slowing down time and catching up with today is periodically deleting three items from your “to do list” without doing them at all. Before you shriek, consider that much of what makes your list is arbitrary.

In most cases, eliminating three items won’t impact your career or life, except for freeing up a little time for yourself in the present.

A Change in Medium

I have long used water to reduce stress. For eleven years, I lived in a high-rise condominium in Falls Church, Virginia, complete with its own 25 meter pool. No matter how hard I worked during the day, even if I did a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. stint, at 6:05 p.m. I was in the pool. After 30 minutes of laps, I had swum out many of the stresses and strains of the day.

Now that I live in North Carolina, more rural by comparison, I have lakes! Here I can swim for a mile in one direction and rarely encounter anyone else. Find the swimming hole nearest you!

In the Animal Kingdom

If you have a dog or cat and do not consider it a drain on your time, here’s a little something about Rover or Mittens that you may not have known. In recent years, as reported by U.S. News & World Report, scientists have found proof for what was only once suspected: Contact with animals has specific and measurable effects on both your body and mind.

The mere presence of animals can increase a sick person’s chances of survival, and has been shown to lower heart rate, calm disturbed children, and induce incommunicative people to initiate conversation!

The exact mechanisms that animals exert to affect your health and well-being are still largely mysterious. Scientists suspect that animal companionship is beneficial because, unlike human interaction (!), it is uncomplicated.

Animals are nonjudgmental, accepting and attentive; they don’t talk back, criticize, or give orders. Animals have a unique capacity to draw people out.

Even if you only have goldfish, sometimes simply staring at them in their silent world can help deaden your hectic pace.

Catching up with Today

1. Constantly read your list of priorities and goals.
2. Challenge and defeat your own ritual behavior.
3. Consider the outcome of not handling something.
4. Convincingly, but politely, say no.
5. Call rather than visit.

6. Clear your desk of all but the task at hand.
7. Clear your files of everything that can be recycled.
8. Cancel something you had already scheduled.
9. Choose from what you already have.
10. Choose to get a good night’s sleep every night.

When you consider all of the ways you add unnecessary pressures to your day, you begin to see many ways to catch up with today or, at least, with this week.

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Posted by Jeff Davidson

Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony.

Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including:
* Managing the Pace with Grace®
* Achieving Work-Life Balance™
* Managing Information and Communication Overload®

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