Have you ever been so thoroughly stressed out by conflicting responsibilities that you think you simply can’t handle another thing? This happened to me last week. My daughter called and asked me for a favor that I told her I couldn’t possibly do because I had an early-morning flight and a ton of work to finish beforehand. But that night when I closed my eyes, I felt really guilty about not being able to find space to accommodate someone I love. And guess what happened? I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and rushed to the airport to catch the flight, only to discover I had booked my flight for the wrong day.
How could I, a person who prides himself in being so organized and controlled, have made such a blunder? Then I remembered that I had arranged the erroneous reservation at a time when I was hurried, distracted and not focusing on the business at hand. All that multitasking, I realized, had finally muddled my mental processes, resulting in my becoming so inefficient that I not only succeeded in totally screwing up my schedule, but wasn’t even able to help my daughter in resolving a temporary problem. My attempts to juggle too many things at once had finally become a counter-productive proposition, causing them to all come crashing to the floor.
That’s when I decided it would be a good idea to give my brain some ‘down time’ by disconnecting from my daily deadlines, distractions and obligations. Perhaps by simply closing my office door, putting my feet up on the desk and letting my mind wander for a few minutes, I might be better able to crystalize my thoughts and focus on what I really wanted to accomplish. And I have to tell you, it was a liberating experience. With the pressure gauge turned off, I was able to clear all the debris from my mind, to remember people I had forgotten to call back and to get a better handle on some new business overtures I was contemplating.
And then it occurred to me that human beings have unbelievable cognitive abilities, which are routinely blocked by the frantic pace of daily life. If we were able to just slow down long enough each day to recalibrate our thought processes, it might be all we need to summon forth those inner mental resources.
Try doing it tomorrow, and you, too, may be amazed at the results.