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This past weekend, I did nothing. Well, I did something, and that something was consciously “doing nothing.” I stayed at a bed & breakfast (Westerbeke Ranch, one of Rockwood’s partners) and laid on a raft in the pool for hours. I have no idea what the other guests thought, though they did compliment me a few times on my amazing ability to float.
In my previous life as a harried, stressed-out nonprofit staff person, being able to “do nothing” was impossible. My work days were filled to the brim. I was so busy, I used to dream about telling people I was taking a week off of work so I could come in and do my backlog of work with no distractions.
The worst part was that the go, go, go feeling seeped into my time outside of work, too. Never slowing down in my day (I frequently took my lunches al desko) made it so I was completely drained by the time I got home. And even though I made sure I didn’t work on my vacations, I felt like I had to make them jam-packed because time off was so precious.
At the time, I didn’t see the connection, but now I can see very clearly how not making time in my work day also took spaciousness away from my life outside of the office. I’m still getting used to eating lunch away from my desk and taking moments to be grateful or connect with nature, but my expert pool-floating skills feel like a sign it’s working.
Others here at Rockwood have had a longer time to perfect making spaciousness in their days, so I asked them how they do it:
Eileen, Senior Finance & Operations Manager
I make sure I eat lunch away from my desk. I breathe when I feel stressed.
Maddie, Development Manager
I typically have an afternoon fruit ritual. I take ten minutes to prepare and eat a piece of fruit.
I recently got a Fitbit and have been walking a lot. Instead of writing a staff member an email, I get up and walk over. I also try and drink a lot of water, and take mini-breaks by turning off my monitor and looking out the window now and again.
Stacy, Director of Programs
I try to mix up my tasks over the course of a day – so I am not only on the computer all day or at meetings all day.
I manage my load by asking for help, and I break up large projects into smaller tasks that I can complete over time instead of all at once. For example, I’ll draft a blog or report a few weeks before it’s due, which allows me to come back to it with fresh perspective as I work on it.
Virada, Program Manager
I eat lunch away from my desk. The length of time will vary depending on my meetings for the day, but midday is carved out for it. Not only is it a break, but it’s awesome relationship-building and fun bonding time with my friends (aka, coworkers).
Also, a lot of my work occurs via email, and I find that batching my emails with breaks in between allows me to execute that task with greater focus and clarity.
Ronald, Enrollment Manager
Interestingly, my morning habit creates a feeling of spaciousness, so having that structure on waking helps me to be present for the uncertainties of the day.
Nicole, Director of Advancement
I try to not eat lunch at my desk. 😉
Tyson, Program Manager
Stretch/yoga poses often. I spend about five minutes in the morning stretching/yoga while waiting on my morning tea to steep, and then take brief stretch breaks throughout the day. I also try to go outside every afternoon, even if it’s just a brief walk around the block. I make a point to walk around to everyone’s office/desk at least once during the day. This allows me to not only connect to my coworkers, but also move my own energy around the office, so it doesn’t get stuck in my work area. When I am in meetings or even at lunch, I always try to sit where I can see nature in some way, specifically green, if possible (a tree outside, a plant in someone’s office, etc.).
Sharon, Associate Director of Programs
I keep a clean desk free of distractions — I have nothing on my desk except for my computer. This frees me up from staring at old files, and reduces the time it takes to switch between projects. Also, each morning, I feel free and fresh when I come into my space and I have a clean desk.
Darlene, Chief Impact Officer
During the work day, I walk as much as possible and take short breaks that include everything from breathing exercises to engaging colleagues in sweet conversations about something joyous. However, the greatest gift spaciousness gives me is that I get to show up to work each day being fully me. I bring my heart, my guts, my spirit, and my mind to work and it makes a tremendous difference to me that I don’t have to leave significant parts of myself at the door when I enter. What a joy! Personal ecology is about all of me, rather than the balance between work and life. Work is a significant part of life and I am grateful to have the privilege of doing work that feeds my spirit and aligns with my purpose.
How do you make spaciousness in your day?