Just as I was beginning to think it was never going to happen, the Jacarandas have burst forth in flower. Summer has finally arrived! Summer evenings are here and they almost make it worth working. The heat and rush of the day simply melts away as you sit out of an evening whether it be with a wine, a beer or a G&T to help things along. The air is still and redolent with the scent of jasmine and gardenias. Life just has to be worth living.
The beauty and the peace of these early summer evenings can only work its magic if you allow it to. Unless you leap off life's treadmill long enough to appreciate the balm of evening, it will not do its thing. Yes I have been called all sorts of names when it comes to work - not all flattering I might add! - but one lesson I have learned is "Time Out!". Yes, there is a certain two-letter word I still struggle with though - despite having read excellent advice offered in this very column some time back!
I believe we all have some essential but basic needs that must be met if we are to lead satisfying lives. The balance will vary but I have 5 rules forming my daily blueprint:
Whilst I endeavour to apply these "rules" to life in general, they are equally applicable to many aspects of our lives. As a case in point, we are frantically trying to get data together for our abstract for Perth 2005 -
- Spend time working to earn a living.
This probably seems self-evident but we do take it for granted. Unless you have been unemployed, or had a partner unemployed, it is hard to appreciate how it eats away at your self-esteem. The flip-side is that even when the going gets tough, we should recognise how fortunate we are to have jobs.
- Spend time making a difference for others
We are generally lucky in our field of endeavour that we can, and do, make a difference to others in our daily work. Few jobs allow such close interaction with people in their times of need whether it be assuaging anxiety, providing education regrading their condition and how to deal with it, or simply shining a ray of sunshine into a patient's life. All small things perhaps, but they satisfy a basic human need we each have to contribute to the society in which we live.
- Spend time doing something you enjoy doing in its own right preferably with people you enjoy being with.
Again I am fortunate that I am passionate about the work I do and the team I lead. If work is a drudge or doesn't provide you with rewards, you need to find something outside of work that you can be passionate about. Call it goal setting in leisure activity, but it is important you develop a sense of achievement, whether work or leisure related. Being with people you enjoy being with is an important aspect of the interdependence upon which any society is built. It also contributes to your personal sense of self value.
- Spend time being creative.
I would postulate we all have a creative lode running through us - OK, in some the mother-lode may be more deeply buried than in others. Creativity can express itself it many different ways but express it we must. Whether it be gardening, woodworking, painting, music, writing or even cooking, you can find a way to express yourself. Find your own way and the rewards will flow. This expression of your "psyche" doesn't have to be public but is very important in establishing who you are and developing your sense of value.
- Spend time in your own company - Time out!
This is most important in maintaining the charge in your batteries. Time out can be at the end of the day or it can be several brief times during the day. Whether you simply switch off and meditate, dream, or evaluate a project, it is very special time indeed. All the other "rules" address your interaction in society, this time addresses your own personal space. Treasure it.
1. Doing the work is part of our jobs
2. The findings will benefit our patients. She may not realise it yet, but the presenter of the paper will also benefit by honing her presentation skills!
3 & 4. The posing of the question and the hunting for the answer are both creative and exciting - hopefully the interpretation of the data wont be too creative! Informal brain-storming presents great team building opportunities. The rewards goes way beyond the effort.
5. Time out allows you to reflect how things are going with the project, your team, your life.
Does living by rules mean life becomes regimented? Not at all! Rules simply maintain a perspective or context and ensure you get the most out of life on a personal level. Give it a try!
Till next time,