We have to learn to slow down to speed up.
This weekend I went on a 2-hour hike. It was the first time in a VERY long time that I’d done so, and the process of moving through the woods for 2 hours served as a reminder that even when we know the benefits, extended moments of purposeful disconnection are incredibly hard to come by.
I found a little slice of peace on that hike. Instead of emails, projects, and the news, I thought about which route was the best for the miles ahead of me. When my mind did wander back to civilization’s urgency, I was drawn back to the task at hand because I had to climb a hill, dodge some particularly tricky roots, or manage a set of loose rocks.
In spite of everything, in spite of myself, even, I slowed down for 2 hours.
Off the trail, we often move through our lives rushing from one important thing to the next, making everything less important in the process. We are connected to everyone and everything all the time, all but ensuring that we are, in fact, disconnected from the people and things we care about most.
We move fast, hoping in spite of our knowledge that doing so is futile. We then move faster and work more, because we think that if we can just be a bit more productive we can finally get caught up.
But we’ll never catch up by doing so, we’ll be anything but our best, and we’ll almost certainly burn out if we don’t do the most counter intuitive thing we can possibly do:
Take your lunch break from time to time. Leave work on time every so often. Turn off the TV and have a conversation. Make time for family and friends. Work out, or, literally, take a hike.
Start small if you need to, but START.
Your best, most productive self is on the other side of a healthy break doing whatever it is that fills you with joy or the opportunity to purposefully disconnect, and being with whomever and wherever there is deep, meaningful connection to be had.