Reprinted from ReadyAimLife
by The Howitzer
A newfound interest of mine is NASCAR. To be honest, I have never had much interest in a bunch of overgrown teenagers racing around an oval track. With the exception of some fantastic wrecks (where no one seems to get hurt) I never really understood the NASCAR junkie. That is until my son realized that one of the drivers had the same birthday as him. So, we began to watch his favorite new driver: Jeff Gordon. It seems that Jeff is pretty good and is always in contention so it’s kind of fun watching a winner.
It’s funny how your perception of things changes when you have a dog in the fight. Now we watch this rush of adrenaline through the lens of the #24 car. And we have come to understand that all NASCAR fans do the same thing. Everybody has their favorite driver. As we continue to connect with the sport, we realize that there is something intoxicating about watching cars race around at 190+ miles per hours and our heroes are completely addicted to speed. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to be bump-drafting the car in front of me at those kinds of speeds. The frenetic pace must be staggering.
The closest I get to that kind of pace is in managing my schedule. It seems that my life’s engine revs pretty good as well. It’s been said that life is a vapor and is as fast as a warm breath on a frigid morning. We are here for a moment and then gone. We all have been given 70-80 laps around the track and then pass the checkered flag at the finish line and hope that we have finished well. Some have their races extended and some get taken out the race early.
Life is extremely fast and if we are not careful we will caught up in the adrenalin of busyness. Ever pressing forward, life passing by at the speed of light. How do you combat this? How do you slow it down? The key to slowing down your life is not necessarily gutting your schedule but instead making sure that what you are doing is important. Let me give you 5 ideas to slow life down.
1) Take advantage of early mornings and late nights. There are two consistent quiet periods on either side of each day that are underutilized and are great in slowing things down. There is not much competition for your attention from 5-7am or from 10-12 pm. Most of us can take advantage of one of these. For me the early slot is better because I turn into a pumpkin at 9:00 o’clock at night. Using these time periods will slow you down by giving you time that normally gets wasted. Some people say they wish there were more hours in a day and it’s possible you may be able to redeem a few more in this way.
2) Develop a hobby that is advancing your strengths and interest. We all have gifts and interests. For most parents we put those on hold for the sake of the kids (which is a terrible example for the children). You have heard the guy who says, “I love golf and I could be pretty good at it but I just don’t have time.” What a waste. We need to be developing our talents. Most of us don’t have that many anyway so maximize what you do have. When you identify something you have an interest in, figure out a way to engage with it. Don’t let it consume you, but if you will develop yourself you will slow things down by feeling a sense of accomplishing something very important.You may not get more time but you will enjoy how you are spending it if you build in some hobby times.
3) Focus on spending time with your family. If there is one thing that will simplify your schedule it to say no to outside things and spend more time with your family. Even if the schedule is NASCAR like, meals together, games played on family game nights, even TV watched will slow down your life. The only thing that I do not want to be said about me at my funeral is having my family say I was too busy for them. To say yes to family times is to say no to other competing values and will slow the focus of your life down. And at the same time it will help you gain insight into the strengths and interests of your most important relationships.
4) Cultivate a habit of taking a nap. There is no empirical data that supports this hypothesis but I know from 47 years of experience that nothing brings new perspective and energy than a good ole nap. If you take advantage of your early morning and late nights you will need it. Years ago I learned a valuable lesson from Bobb Beihl in how to deal with fatigue. If you are feeling like you are on the edge of burnout, see how quickly you can get in an extra 10 hours of sleep on top of your regular sleep schedule. A rested spirit can deal with the demands of the day much better than an exhausted soul.
5) Develop a Race Plan. Do you have specific goals in each of the major areas of your life? If you don’t you need to check out our life planner. If you think that a race car just puts gas and tires on the car and pushes the gas pedal you may have missed the strategic aspect of racing. Those guys have a plan. You need a plan too.
I am sure that there are other things that help slow things down and if you have an idea leave us a comment. One thing is sure, we cannot continue on the pace that most of live and not take a pit stop occasionally. NASCAR fans know that and we need to build in an occasional stop to change the tires, refuel and talk to your pit crew. If you are going to win you have to take care of business and not let busyness take you out.