Pausing for Autumn

Published on:
October 29, 2020

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found the riot of autumnal colors to quiet my mind and put me in a reflective mood. When walking through a forest amid the crunch of dry leaves, surrounded by vibrant orange, yellow, red and the occasional purple, it is almost otherworldly. Although the wondrous fall display is brief, it seems a fitting tribute to usher out the long, warm days of summer and prepare us for the short, cold (and in our case wet) days of winter. The cool, crisp days are invigorating and the leaves, well, they can be breathtaking. With so much turbulence around us, pause to soak in nature’s seasonal gift. It's hard to believe in these quiet moments that everything is wrong in the world.

Enjoy before the leaves all fall from the trees, clog the gutters and make your back sore.

Photo by Dennis Buchner on Unsplash

Other ideas to get by in these times.

When uncertainty reigns and grim signs abound, it’s easy to find the usual four-letter words on the tip of our tongues. Consider a new one — hope. With jobs at risk, fires, floods and a pandemic, we’re prone to hopelessness. But know that it’s not a state of being; it's an outlook that improves everything. Hope is like a super-vitamin. It protects us from stress and shores up our mental health. It allows us to pick ourselves up quicker when we stumble. It spurs creativity and helps solve problems. Hope is an aspiration or desire for something better and a belief that there’s a path to achieving it. It’s not wishful thinking. Hope is very practical because you have to believe that there’s a plan to get there. Whether you work your way backwards from your goal or you identify a path with manageable steps, you see the way forward and find hope.

It’s often said that strategy is as much about knowing what you’re NOT going to do as it is about what you’re going to do. The point is that we often have plenty of options, but we can only be successful if we concentrate on a very few. The same goes for managing everyday work. In fact, as we all know, it’s even easier to get fragmented from day to day. Many of us use a to-do list to keep focused on the things that matter. But that doesn’t help with the distractions. A list of things to avoid (or bad habits to break) can be really useful. Examples might include: avoid getting sucked into the news in the morning or confine social media to defined breaks in the day or don’t read and consider every message as it arrives. Some of this stuff, we can triage; the rest, we can simply put off. It can be hard. Many of these habits have become crutches for when we don’t want to do something and are looking for a distraction. Here, a little discipline goes a long way. You will be amazed at how much more productive you are.

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