Summer, believe it or not, is starting to draw to a close. September generally marks a return to routine, as schools open, vacations end, and the weather becomes less conducive to activity outside the home. That is not to say that routine is a bad thing, nor to suggest that summer ending should be a depressing time (though, those still in school might beg to differ!), only to highlight that this time of year is generally a slower pace. In fact, with how many see a shift in their schedule to accommodate the restart of school, it might even be argued that September is the true start of the year. If that is true, then perhaps September is a good time to reflect on the habits and routines that are being set up, and the impact they will have for the next few months. A sort of early New Year's resolution.
The importance of building habits that are sustainable and beneficial is no secret. Conventional wisdom regarding health, exercise, diet, sleep, and so many other elements of life are not without their established merits. In spite of the value they are recognized to have, there appears to be a disconnect; if these elements of life are so important, why are they not prioritized? The paradox mirrors something BMI has noted over the years, in that it seems some people are too busy to reduce their workload. At first glance it might seem completely backward, to hold the notion that one's work schedule is so filled to the absolute brim that there couldn't possibly be time to analyze why the schedule is so full, or work on reducing that workload. Yet, it is a significant and deep-rooted issue. Just as people continue to acknowledge then immediately ignore the importance of a healthy diet and exercise, so too do people acknowledge and ignore the importance of both balancing work and life, and prioritizing the real work that should be done.
Parkinson's law is, as the name suggests, a law, just as gravity. It states that, if not regulated and measured, work will expand so as to fill the allotted time. If one books 8 hours of work a day, then work will fill all 8 hours that day. If one can only perform 1 hour of work a day, then work will fill that 1 hour. As a thought experiment, imagine your work day and your to-do list. In the event that you completed everything on your to-do list, would you call it a day, and head home early? Or, would you allow work to expand and keep you there until that arbitrarily-set amount of time elapsed? The amount of work to be done is infinite. The question, then, is where you have drawn a line. Or perhaps, the question is, have you drawn a line?
Trite as it may be, it is time to focus on the journey, not the destination. The start of autumn and the return to routine offers a fantastic opportunity for introspection on exactly what habits and routines are being set, and why. With such a disconnect between being busy and being productive, and the two being confused for one another, take the time to reflect on what you are prioritizing; where you spend your time is where you will see results (or the lack thereof). If you find yourself too busy to even do that, perhaps this can serve as a red flag that you might need help, and of course, BMI is here to help guide and orient you with your goals.
- Your BMI family