Do you ever feel like you are racing against the clock? Have you ever find yourself bargaining with the universe, asking for another hour or two in the day? I know I certainly have, many times over. The truth is we have become a society that races against the clock. There are signs on the freeway that tell us how long it will take to get to the next intersection. We find ourselves staying late at work because we were unable to get any ‘real work’ done during business hours. The end result is that we are more depleted, exhausted and overwhelmed than ever before. We have more to do, and less time to do it in. In many ways, our modern society is at a crisis point, a time in human history that is calling (even begging) for a new paradigm—a new way of tapping into a more holistic and intentional approach to the world of work.Read More
You may recall the 2007 story of internationally renowned American classical musician Joshua Bell performing as a busker in Washington D.C.’s Union Station. It was a social experiment orchestrated by Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten to see if people would pay attention to a world-class musician playing in an unexpected location. For 45 rush-hour minutes, Bell gave an all-out musical performance. He played some of the world’s most intricate pieces on his 3.5-million-dollar violin and later noted that it had been some of his best work. Only six people stopped to listen to Bell that day and the musician (who is used to filling concert halls) made a total of $32.00.Read More
Last week I had a phone conversation with a woman who is powerful beyond measure. She is a leader, a problem solver, and someone who others look to for inspiration and guidance. This woman’s vulnerability was palpable. She was clearly feeling worn down by the weight of overwhelm and exhaustion, brought on by staying too long at a job that demands too much. On the day we spoke, she had had enough. Enough of being the one to put out the fires. Enough of being there for everyone else. Enough of a system that didn’t recognize her humanity.Read More
When I was a young girl, my mother had a specific tree just behind our house where she would occasionally retreat to when she needed a break from being a full-time mother, trapped on a 100-acre farm with four boisterous children. It was her place of refuge. For a few short moments, with a cup of coffee and her thoughts, my mother would sit quietly, hidden under the droopy branches of a spruce tree.
Usually she was able to slip away while we were out playing or otherwise occupied, but a few times I remember my siblings and I running around the house and the forest, trying to find that special tree and our mother who had taken her brief reprieve from us.Read More
Earlier this month, I read Dr. Stuart Brown's book, Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and invigorates the Soul. Dr. Brown is a psychologist and co-founder of the National Institute of Play and a strong proponent for the importance of play in our busy grown-up lives. He believes that play is essential if we are to keep our minds and hearts open, flexible, healthy and adaptable to our ever-changing world.
A strong argument, a fascinating read and a powerful reminder that I need to play more.Read More
This past week, I found myself restless and squirming at my desk, unable to link even two coherent sentences together. Instead of switching gears and doing something else I just kept pushing, desperate to squeeze out an article in time for my self-imposed deadline (which has passed, in case you are wondering). The more I tried to write, the more frustrated I became with myself and the abysmal work I was producing. I grappled for any semblance to flow, but it was completely and firmly out of my reach.Read More
This summer, I attended a music festival where I witnessed, first-hand, the powerful impact of that the game, Pokémon Go, has had on so many. It was late at night as I left the festival, and I found myself walking through what seemed like a Pokémon epicentre (my nephew tells me it was a PokeStop, a place where both supplies and Pokémon can be found).Read More
North Americans might be working longer hours than those in other developed countries, but we are actually lagging behind when it comes to our productivity. Culturally, we tend to associate working long hours with being effective and committed; a mindset deeply imbedded in how we approach our day-to-day work. While many of us wear our tendency to overwork as a sort of badge of honour and importance (100% guilty over here!), the harsh truth is that more time working does not necessarily equal greater productivity.
In fact, studies show that the more we work, the less effective we are. When operating from a perspective of time scarcity, we can become convinced that we need to hurry through our days, checking our list off as we go. But, when immersed in the frenzy of meetings and deadlines, we are only able to offer a small fraction of ourselves to the actual task at hand. Our attention is fragmented and our ability to focus suffers.Read More