I found myself struggling to find inner peace in a fast paced world that values productivity. I recently took a vacation to have the time to do the things I had been wanting but didn’t feel I had the time to do, you know what how this is. But when I returned I felt like I had only set myself up for more stress and a feeling of failure. The piles of paperwork, catch up conversations, daunting deadlines and endless emails were overwhelming. Everyone wanted it now, yesterday, last week. Each proclaimed to be important. Each proclaimed to be urgent. I felt I needed to do more, do it faster, do it right. I felt if I could just get this done, done well, done now then I could relax and feel better. It was if I thought inner peace was waiting for me at the end of the to do list.
Ah, then the realization hit-there is always more to do! I can’t wait to get to the end, because it is endless. Inner peace is not something we have to wait to get to, it is now. Inner peace is not from what we produce but in the process.
Truth is, I knew I created my own situation. I actually like doing things, contributing something of value. I signed on for more tasks all on my own. If the pressure of productivity was stressing me out, then something was not lining up right.
First, I must make sure that I infuse my daily tasks and events with things that also really matter to me. Hyrum W. Smith explains in his book, The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management, that “most people are frustrated and stressed out because they sense their lives are out of control…they feel busy but not productive. We may be doing a lot of what we think we ought to, should do, and have to but not what we truly want to. Inner peace is only possible when the things we are doing are in line with the things we believe.” We make sure we take out the trash, pay the bills, respond to every message, attend every meeting and turn in every report but often neglect to call that friend, take that walk and certainly don’t write that book. He goes on to say “insignificant things get in the way that seem urgent but important things are seldom urgent, unless we make them so.” There are things that have to be done, but unless we make the effort to add in even a little of what we really want to be done, we will never really feel fulfillment. “Discovering what’s most important to you, and doing something about it is what inner peace is all about.”
This is the time of year most of us reflect on our goals, our bucket lists, our resolutions. If we are doing just to do, we won’t feel satisfied, just frustrated. We need to give those big life goals and dreams a sense of urgency. If I seek inner peace through and despite productivity Smith suggests I “sit down with my values and goals every single day to create my daily task list, in addition to everything else I’ve got to do anyway, and add to my list what really matters. Governing values get into daily task lists through the vehicle of intermediate goals.”
What’s next? Part II (The Doing Something)
Posted by Laura Lynn Housel