Are You Hearing The Messages?

Last week, I read a great article in my favorite magazine (Vogue) about a detox spa. Writer Plum Sykes talked about extreme flushing out treatments at an Austrian spa where all technology is forbidden.

She felt great and alive when she left. But the best part, said the London-based writer who probably holds one of the most stressful jobs in the world, was that the detox taught her to limit her email time to once or twice a day.

I’ve heard that message so many times – relegate email to specific times so that it doesn’t take over your work hours. And yet, I fall prey to the “ding” of new message in my inbox, furiously checking on my phone or computer even if it interrupts something I’m really focused on.

(Check out this study, which says: ‘We’re used to hearing about the negative side of the balance-sheet, about email’s addictive nature and the unnecessary stress it injects into the modern worker’s life, but we downplay these problems because it’s so incredibly useful.’)

All week, clients have confessed to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Each conversation inevitably has turned to the idea that if they just had someone to help guide their schedule, they could focus, organize and be more efficient.

I’ve encouraged each and every one to limit email to once or twice a day. (Ha! Walk the talk, lady.) And I’ve also offered to serve as the coach they check in with to organize their work – and their lives – so that they are at their optimal functioning – and happiness.

Everyone needs a coach on their shoulder. Someone to check in with, to point out easy ways to manage life. First world problems, yes. But really, it’s just a check-in with objectivity to get us back on track.

We shouldn’t need someone to tell us to meditate before turning on the iPhone every morning. We shouldn’t need someone to tell us to take a walk, get outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, instead of sitting for 8-9 hours a day straight.

We shouldn’t need another person to encourage us to have some down time, or some time for reflection, or ask if we’ve read a book recently, or gone to yoga, or taken a nature hike.

This is stuff we already know. And if you’re an entrepreneur like me, you probably embarked on your own business to gain the freedom you can’t have when you work for someone else.

Except the dirty little secret of entrepreneurs is that you work harder because it means more. Time to swim laps? HA!

Last week, I wrote about the freedom I had with the kids gone and my husband away for work. Sure, it was easy to do yoga, meditate twice a day and get outside when I had no one else to care for. I ate so well!!! Healthfully, not a lot, peacefully. I didn’t make 12 dishes to please everyone’s palate. My grocery bill was $97 and I had food left at week’s end!

This week, not so much. And because I don’t believe in coincidences, I am listening very carefully as I read the Vogue article, then heard not one, not two but three clients confess about the same state I find myself in. Wake up, world, the messages are shouting at you!

Yesterday, I ran from a meeting in Royal Oak to a downtown meeting near Belle Isle to West Bloomfield to Bloomfield Hills back to Royal Oak. Exhausted, evening arrived with the gift of a pounding headache. Today promised to be exactly the same.

Then, around 9:30 last night, I heard the click-click-click of my husband trying to light the stove. Was he making tea late at night? No, the gas had been turned off by the gas company so they could work on the meter.

Someone had to stay home today to wait for them to come back and relight the pilot and make sure we could use everything. Cold water showers this morning. But, I had to abort my plans to jet around town and get all the meetings in before leaving on vacation.

I had no choice but to work from home, miss one meeting and reschedule the second one for right here at my dining room table.

Today started so much more peacefully than any other day this week. The things that happen to “derail” our planned schedules happen for a reason. No coincidences. It is exactly as it should be.

I hear you, universe. Thanks for setting me straight.

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