Career | Culture | Organization | Productivity

The Calendar Waltz

They say people are increasingly stressed out on Sunday night with anticipation for the work week. I don’t tend to get stressed anymore. Being in a job I like helps, but so does structuring my days with some measure of sanity. Looking at my calendar this Monday morning, I see that the week is fully booked. That is as it should be, but this year I’ve looked at my schedule through a different lens; Is this block on my calendar the best use of my time?

“A busy calendar and a busy mind will destroy your ability to do great things in this world.” – Naval Ravikant

Naval throws out a challenge with this statement. And I struggle with the idea of not being busy all the time. On the face of it I know it’s true, but I tend to overbook myself anyway. There is a rush in being busy, but busy doesn’t translate into productive. Nor does busy equal effective. The next time you watch a great TED talk, pay attention to the gaps; the pregnant pause between words. Space to digest what is being said is critical in a great presentation. And space is equally important in our day-to-day. Increasingly, I use the time in between meetings as quiet time to assess what just happened and what will need to happen in my next scheduled meeting for things to progress. No chatter on the radio if I’m driving, no background music if I’m in the office. This is my space in between to reset my mind, line up my follow-up items, take action as required and to think.

I write this with an eye on the clock, as it ticks towards a stack of consecutive meetings. I’ve just finished a long drive, reset to write, and will jump back into the day. This pause keeps me sane, more effective when I switch back “on” and overall happier in my life. I’m eager to begin the day, as opposed to being stressed about what I’m forgetting or rushing to a meeting cursing and distracted. I’m all in on the open spaces in the calendar. They make the rest of it more of a waltz than a forced march. Isn’t that a better life?

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