I have had the luxury of seeing many of you over more than 25 years of my career. Naturally, that means some of you have retired in that time and I have been interested to watch that evolution toward that Last Day "swiping in to work", or that First Day "not at the job". Some of you are concerning me...
In the run up years to retirement some of you really begin to embrace niche aspects of your work, others are surprised to find out how interesting your grandchildren are compared to their parents! But many of you say you don't know what you'd do without the structure or the focus of your work. We often talk about shortcuts to that problem such as mentoring and consulting in this new solopreneurship economy. But the harder conversation is convincing some of you to begin being more in touch with yourself now, while you're still on the job - but outside of your "work self".
What do you enjoy when all else is taken away?
If that sounds a little like this word mindfulness you've heard about...yep it will require you switching gears to your non work brain, or taking your brain out of "idle mode" and attending to details. Some of you, for example are likely multitasking while reading this right now. In an article about slowing down time from a blog called I Done This -The Science of Small Wins I realized that one reason time speeds by us is the constant need to do multiple things at the same time, paying attention to little of it and doing some of it only "just" effectively enough. We can do this by not being "too engaged" in any of it, right? In fact sometimes, it's easier, more efficient, to "keep things as is" without introducing new or different ways of doing things. But the facts are, that new experiences are the way to slow down time and expand our "world". And the idea of trying to cultivate a deeper meaning with your daily world can be a step in this direction. Listen here to a 45 minute NPR episode about cultivating awe in our daily life.
The idea to me - for some of you - is that by slowing down the world from high efficiency machine you have built over your career to one which focuses on the day to day experiences that make up that world. What if you sat down to lunch with your colleague instead of eating at your desk, what if you did not check emails after you left work, what if you planned to cook dinner or did the dishes every night this week instead of...whatever your role is now. It would force you in to your non work world, into the world you share with your partner who may have grown to see you as only half present. It might allow you the solitude to think about what you enjoy when all else (the distraction of work) is taken away? And to realize that for some of you, the comfort of that drumbeat of work is that you don't have to fill anything else in. You're too busy to take the walk, do the thing, meet the whomevers. Get out of that comfort zone one experience at a time.
Future (retired) you will thank you.