Have you ever been at the point in your job or family that you are so busy that you feel like you are just spinning your wheels? There have been times in my own life where I have put so many things into my schedule and filled the in-between-time with other distractions like radio, tv or the internet that little things, then bigger start to slip. We have forgotten the art of relaxing, even if it is only 15 minutes or so to remove the distractions around us. One thing that I have implemented in my own life is to start each day with quiet time for reading and reflection. This is before I check emails, news or the weather. To borrow a book title from one of my favorite authors, Dan Miller, it sets “The Rudder for the Day” for me. I have found that by hitting the “refresh” button each day in the morning, I can react to problems better, be more creative, and see things more clearly.
There was a time last summer when Theresa and I were pulling double duty. We were with a daughter, two towns apart, at softball games. Matthew was with me and we were hanging out in the car watching the game from right field. One of the girls had placed some posters purchased at a garage sale in the visor of my car and gave me explicit instructions to not let Matthew get them. We know in our family that Matthew could be easily employed in a confetti making factory or document shredding company with his ability to relegate large pieces of paper into very tiny ones. I had opened the front windows and the rear hatch to allow for some air flow and all was going well until Matthew decided to crawl into the back area of my small SUV. I had strategically placed some of his puzzle pieces back there to occupy him. It also has a great storage area for my carpentry tools that accompany me where ever I go. I was so engrossed in the game that I did not notice that, one by one, Matthew was tossing my inventory of tools out the back window. By the time I was clued-in, he had emptied one of my tool bags and was moving in the next one. I ran to the back of the truck and began the process of dodging cars and flying tools and picking up the tools that were embedded into the gravel drive from the passing cars. After removing the hammer that was about to be tested on the side window from his hand I began to gain ground. Matthew decided he was done with his tool project and headed to the front of the truck. As I placed the last tool in the truck I noticed that Matthew had zeroed in on the posters and had them all layed out on the dash and front seat, apparently deciding on which one to shred first. I ran to the front of the truck to salvage the posters. As I gathered them and was rolling them back up Matthew was throwing his puzzle pieces out the side windows, bouncing them off the neighboring cars. I had to take a deep breath and “work the problem” instead of the problem working me.
I did finally real in and gain a foothold on the situation…It was a great metaphor of how our lives can sometimes be.
Learn to take a break now and then and remember that more activity does not always mean more accomplishment.