Like you, I've been rushing around. But when the US cycle company Specialized asked me to take time out to shoot a five-minute film, I was intrigued. They have this blindingly fast new bike, the S-Works Venge ViAS, which apparently will shave 5 minutes off a 40k ride. (Not at the speed I cycle, I fear). And they've set up a "5 Minute Lounge" where you can convert those hard-won minutes into some bite-sized inspiration from Mark Cavendish, Gordon Ramsey, Jenson Button and yours truly. It's mindfulness for MAMILs many of whom have power jobs and use cycling as essential R&R.
They say cycling is the new golf. A couple of generations ago the hallmark of a successful person was how much free time they had; the more senior, the more time you spent mucking about on the links. Today, a packed iCal or Outlook is the new business trophy. Busy-ness is the new leisure. No surprise people are getting worn out, strung out, burned out.
The Dalai Lama - who's busier than you or I - finds time to meditate. Apparently he sits for two hours every day, unless he is really busy - when he sits for FOUR hours. But where are we, less enlightened mortals, supposed to find the time when are days are full of stuff that's clamouring for our attention?
One answer is - in the gaps. If you looked at your working day the way an astrophysicist looks at the universe, you'd see mostly - space. Space between the meetings, between the calls, between the To-Do's, between the sentences, words and thoughts.
Here are five gaps to look out for, leap at and luxuriate in:
- Between being asked to do something and saying YES. Saying no can be hard, but it's essential if you're going to clear some breathing space. Before you take on something new, do you really have time? If not, say no or not yet.
- Between picking up your phone and dialling. You may only have a few seconds but before you press 'call', take a moment to think about the person on the other end and get curious about them. Yes, curious. About where they are, what they're thinking, how they're feeling. It's the quickest way I know to energise you for your call. And create instant rapport.
- Between home and work (assuming you don't work from home). We hurry through the streets on our way to and from work not noticing the world around us is full of answers to the very questions we are worrying about. If you want a simple and free way to log into the wisdom that's on your doorstep, check out my new non-profit Street Wisdom
- Between one meeting and another . Thanks to Outlook and other digital calendar 'aids' we're often trapped in back-to-back meetings with no time to prepare. A really good question to ask yourself in the seconds before you walk or dial in to the next meeting is: how can I create some real value here? It's a great way to re-energise yourself and bring even tedious sessions to life.
- Between one breath and the next. Noticing your breathing is a time-honoured way of calming your neurology and reducing stress levels. What I'd say is notice the space between the breaths - when you're neither inhaling or exhaling - and let that space expand...
Don't hurry off now. Come hang out in the 5 Minute Lounge with me and my celebrated co-inspirers Gordon, Jenson and Cav... Click here and scroll down.