Do you ever get the feeling that a lack of time actually focusses your mind? Sometimes when a deadline for a piece of work looms our minds almost seem to find another gear and perform better than ever. When this happens it is as though all other distractions disappear because we know we need to get on. I often find this at work. If I know someone needs me to get back to them particularly quickly I rise to the challenge and put my all into it.
This morning I went for my run and I had a deadline. Martyn, my husband, had to leave the house to go to cricket at 8.45am. I only left for my run at 8.15am so I had exactly 30 minutes before I had to be back to look after Noah. Although it was short it was one of the best runs I have had for a while. From the minute I left the house I was focussed on my run. By the time I got back I could tell I had really worked hard. I did hill repeats close to home so that I knew I could be back on time. No worry, no pressure, just a time limit. It worked really well.
So it got me thinking, is time pressure a good thing or not? Does it make us mindful? Is this the way forward? Should we start to break our day into segments so that we are constantly under pressure to get things done by a particular time?
Despite the attractive thought of constant focus I am sure that constant pressure is not a healthy way of life. Every now and then we work really well to a deadline but if that is constantly the way our life goes the pressure gets too much. The trick is to recognise when things are getting too much and to ease off. This is what most of find difficult. We can only perform well on top gear for so long. If we try and keep it up constantly we burn out.
So it is all about balance. Choose certain things that work well when you do them with a time limit. Your exercise. A particular piece of work. But make sure you also give yourself some easy time to take things slowly.
I ran hard this morning but I shall take it easy tomorrow and go for a slow plod without a time limit. When I have had an intense session focusing on a piece of work I take a short break, make a cuppa and give my eyes a break from the screen before I start again. They key to success is looking after ourselves. Work hard but always allow time for recovery.
Listening to your body takes practise. Every now and then we slip up and put too much pressure on ourselves. We need to learn from our mistakes and learn what our limits are. It’s OK to push our limits but not too much.
On a Revitalise Day we take time to reflect on our life and the balance that we want to achieve. By calming our mind and body we have real clarity in terms of deciding how we want things to be. Rather than being carried along in the rush that is everyday life a day retreat is a rare opportunity to stop and take stock. The retreats are held in the beautiful Leicestershire village of Walton On The Wolds and they are suitable for everyone. Whether you already live a mindful life or whether you are just beginning there is so much to gain from a day away, a day on a retreat.