How often do you hear the phrases – “doesn’t time fly!” or “where does the time go?” come up in your presence, either uttered by you or by someone you are chatting too. I can think of at least 2 occasions in the last few days alone.  I would surmise that it feels like its flying because on the whole we are all feeling busier and busier, a consequence not just of busy lives, but of 24/7 information and choice overload.  I have often referred to the ‘operational treadmill’ or ‘treadmill of life’ and I think this perfectly sums up the challenge we all face at times, a sense of limited control, a lack of progress and an inexorable feeling of time passing us by.  This may be a micro experience – a particular week or few weeks due to circumstances, or it may be more of a macro issue, people living a life that doesn’t make them happy or doing a job they don’t enjoy.  Whichever way up, life is too short to feel this way; I was again reminded of this through 3 recent deaths of friends and acquaintances under 50 to cancer.  If you read blogs like these and think – “yeah yeah makes sense but I haven’t got time to get on top of things” or “yeah – must get round to thinking about that next week!” maybe it is time to slow down to speed up in the right direction?

I have been having a bit of a wobble in the last couple of weeks – a bit quieter than I would like, clients taking longer to make decisions and people just getting busy and caught up in operational stuff at the expense of the strategic.  So yesterday I decided to listen to my own advice and take myself off for the day – to slow down in order to help me speed up in the right direction.  I had decided on a little mini adventure (not really very adventurous) but it was different for me.  I took the dogs to Gisburn Forest in the Trough of Bowland (stunning) about 45’ away and a new place for us to walk. I took my Kelly Kettle (amazing bit of kit – everyone should have one), my Aeropress coffee maker (ditto 😊) and a book (The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari).  We had a great walk, lovely countryside, wildlife, fresh air, exercise and time to think.  Back at the car I fired up the Kelly Kettle (I need to practise) and boiled water to make a fab cup of coffee, then sitting in my chair with coffee and a flapjack I read my book for an hour or so.  The impact – I felt energised and excited, I was clear about what I could influence and impact, setting my intentions about how I was going to spend the next day and week. I felt more positive after celebrating some of my recent achievements and habit improvements and I learned that I am not a million miles away from living in line with the 10 Rituals for Leading a Radiant Life apparently 😊 Ultimately – I feel a bit more in control of my treadmill, it is more a moving walk way than treadmill, it has distance and direction!

So in summary there are four things that I tried that I would offer up for you to have a go at if you have the need.

Break the pattern – sometimes you have to do something different and put yourself in a different place physically and emotionally.  Reading my book in a forest on a Wednesday was outside of the norm for me and acted as a fab pattern interrupt!

Reflect on your past experiences and learn – a whole blog in its own right I expect, but I think we don’t do enough formal reflection and learning in our haste to keep moving onto the next thing.  Take time to reflect on what has worked in the past or what you might have done differently and commit it to paper.  This creates a great resource that you can review and reflect on to create ideas, energy and insight – I have an A5 Moleskine notebook I use to capture stuff from books, articles, videos and life in general, ‘Richard’s Learning Log’.

Focus on progress not perfection – it is so easy to want the complete answer, the final solution, the end result, but actually being more comfortable on a first step (get your blog written tomorrow Richard) is liberating and energising in its own right.

Expose yourself to new thinking – if you do/think/act in a way that you have always done, you will be unlikely to find new experiences and new or better outcomes.  I think this habit has had the single biggest impact on me over the last few years as I have embarked on trying to grow every day in line with my value of Personal Growth.  I have read so many more books, listened to podcasts, watched videos and read numerous articles – not all of it resonates, but it has created a Richard that is better than he was a month, a year, 5 years ago!

To quote Gandhi – “Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever!”

I buy that.  Onwards and upwards as always! 😊