Shhhh

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth. -Mahatma Gandhi

Phone calls. E-mails. Text messages. Commercials. Billboards. Pop-ups. Multi-tasking. 24/7. Instant messaging. On demand. In today's world, we are constantly bombarded by messages, activity and demands.

Despite the pressures of our society, you can set boundaries that allow you to put thinking time back into your schedule:

• Set aside time each day on your calendar for reflection. Many people do this in the morning. Some read the Bible or a morning devotional. Others walk and think.
• Prior to dinner, have everyone put his or her mobile device in a basket (preferably soundproof) and leave it there for the duration. For once, you can have an uninterrupted conversation.
• Put your mobile device in another room when you get home from work, and don't look at it the rest of the night.
• Turn off the radio in the car during your commute.
• Establish a TV-free night on at least one day during the week.
• Set an out-of-office alert and turn off your e-mail on vacation. One of the best vacations we took as a family was an overseas cruise. I told everyone in the family that I would not pay international roaming charges, and all phones had to stay off during the entire trip. We focused on each other and put aside the hectic expectation of immediately responding to others.
• Set one day of your week, such as Saturday or Sunday, as a "Sabbath," when you rest, relax and don't do any work. Use the time to reflect and reconnect with friends and family.

As you think back on the times when you were most productive and had your best ideas, you'll likely find it was when you were not at work. Be sure to create "downtimes" to maximize your creativity and productivity.

Action Points
• Set boundaries for yourself and your family.
• Determine your best time or environment for ideas, and replicate it.
• Recognize that a rhythm of work and rest results in greater productivity, and constant activity results in diminishing returns.

Payoff
Better ideas, a more relaxed life, stronger family connections, more innovation

Excerpted from Chapter 48, Shhhh, of The Surpassing Life: 52 Practical Ways to Achieve Personal Excellence, thesurpassinglife.com.

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