I recently finished working on a month-long project that had me leaving home at 7:00 a.m. and not returning until 9:30 p.m. every night. Although it would be easy to complain about working such long hours, there were plenty of positive outcomes from my experience:
- I got to work on an interesting and fulfilling project and meet a lot of wonderful people.
- By taking the train, I was able to let someone else do the driving, rather than follow my usual routine of spending several hours a day in the car. I used that time to read 3 books, which is about 3 more than I usually read in a year (ok, I “cheat” and listen to books on CD while I’m in the car, but I don’t think that counts as reading).
- I was able to walk from the train to the worksite, which allowed me to exercise in a new way, see parts of Chicago I hadn’t explored on foot before, and enjoy some beautiful weather. I even enjoyed walking in the rain – what a great way to awaken the senses and practice my agility by dodging puddles and the splashing cars zooming through them.
- With limited hours at home, I had to fine-tune my time management skills. I improved my ability to prioritize tasks – delaying those I could (happily, dusting was one of these) and being focused and purposeful with those that needed more immediate attention (e.g., processing email and voice mail). As I plowed through my emails, I asked of each one, “What’s the next action I need to take on this?” and then did it – no leaving it for later, no peeking to see if the next email was more interesting or easier to handle. I just dealt with each one as I read it and amazed myself at how efficiently a little determination and decisiveness allowed me get through them.
- Probably the most important outcome of my experience was that it confirmed what I already knew – I love what I do. Whether my workday is long or short, I’m blessed to be able to help people live more fulfilling and meaningful lives. And no matter what your typical day is like, I hope you’re able to take time to appreciate the people in your life, do what you love, and splash through a few of life’s puddles.
Wishing you simplicity, harmony and freedom,