Today, I raced into a meeting only to discover I had the time wrong – I was 30 minutes early. I was in a big conference room all by myself. I spent a few minutes deciding whether to sit and answer email, or whether to take advantage of 30 minutes and run around taking care of some of the many tasks I had lined up for the day. The latter won, and I raced out of the door, plotting in my mind how to get as much packed into 30 minutes as possible. Then, my head came up and I looked at the view. This is what I saw:
For the record, this is where I work. I have this view every day. When I first took this job, I thought I was the luckiest person on earth. I would spend a bit of time every day walking along the river and taking in the view and the fresh air. Today, I realised that I had not even looked at the view for months. I work there every day and spend my days running from meeting to meeting, or teaching all day. I talk to my MBA students about how important it is to have time for reflection. I tell them to take care of their mental health and to think about how they balance the various parts of their life in a holistic way. Somehow, I had forgotten to practice what I preach.
You might not notice in the above photo the line of geese walking across the lawn. Here is a close-up:
I spent twenty minutes standing outside in the brisk, cold, sunny morning watching the geese. I then had a very productive day getting all of my tasks done.
December can be a super stressful month. We put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves during the holidays. If this is true for you, let me offer up a piece of advice: take some time to stop and smell the roses. Or, as in my case, to stop and watch the geese.