Published by Kathy Paauw
Organizing & Productivity Consultant
Certified Life Coach
  April, 2001
                     Issue 13

It's Spring -- Stop and smell the roses!

"Life is what's happening when you're too busy to notice."
-Wayne Muller

When I was a young child, I remember that grocery stores were not open on Sundays. I also remember how upset my mother was when the first local grocery store opened its doors on Sunday. In protest, she refused to shop on that day because it was supposed to be "a day of rest" for the employees.

How many of us honor the Sabbath today or have at least one day of rest when we do not focus on work? In our desperate drive to lead successful lives and handle our many responsibilities, I'm afraid that many of us have lost sight of the importance of taking a day off each week to rest…myself included!

In Wayne Muller's book, Sabbath, he speaks to the importance of rest. Here's an excerpt taken from his book:

In the relentless busyness of modern life, we have lost the rhythm between action and rest. As the founder of a public charity, I visit the offices of wealthy donors, crowded social-service agencies and the small homes of the poorest families. Remarkably, within this mosaic there is a universal refrain: "I am so busy."

We say this to one another as if our exhaustion were a trophy, our ability to withstand stress a mark of character. The busier we are, the more important we seem to ourselves and, we imagine, to others. To be unavailable to our friends and family, to be unable to find time for the sunset (or even to know the sun has set), to whiz through our obligations without time for a single mindful breath -- this has become the model of a successful life.

Yet the more our life speeds up, the more we feel weary, overwhelmed, lost. Our life and work rarely feel light, pleasant or healing. Instead, as it all piles endlessly upon itself, the whole experience of being alive begins to melt into one enormous obligation.

Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We miss the compass points that show us where to go, the nourishment that gives us succor, the quiet that gives us wisdom.

During the last 25 years, our leisure time has declined by 37% while our work week has increased by a full day. We have forgotten the Sabbath. Taking time to honor the Sabbath is like honoring the necessary wisdom of dormancy in nature. Did you know that if certain plant species do not lie dormant during the winter months, the plant begins to die off? Rest is not just a psychological convenience, but a spiritual and biological necessity.

Time is money … or is it?

"If you're burning the candle at both ends,
you're not as bright as you think you are."

You may be unaware of how run down you are becoming. Perhaps you have bought into the old adage that "time equals money." If spending more time at the office equated to making more money, we could all retire early! By now you've figured out that more time at the office does not necessarily equate to more or better results. In fact, it often means fewer results and more mistakes.

The vast majority of my coaching clients complain of having too little time, leaving them feeling depleted, stressed, frustrated, and pulled in every direction. If you're like many others, you are booked solid with little or no time to rest. In between appointments, you struggle to catch up with projects, reports, reading, phone calls, correspondence, e-mail, etc. With the pace you keep, you probably feel like you're running on empty. This can wreak havoc on your business or career, as well as your personal life.

Consider these common symptoms of fatigue:
  • Lack of motivation and energy
  • Irritability
  • Reduced productivity
  • Reduced efficiency and effectiveness
  • Reduced quality / increased mistakes
  • Stressed relationships
In addition to being essential to our health and well-being, taking time off to rest also makes good business sense. Not doing so comes at a tremendous cost to business. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees who take time off from work because of stress, anxiety, or a related disorder, will be off the job for an average of 20 days.

Although companies cannot make work stress-free, some are finding ways to take the edge off. They're realizing that when stress goes down, productivity goes up. Some companies, such as Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, have started offering employees on-site chair massages. Other companies, such as Chicago-based HLB Communications, have created recess time during work hours -- a time for employees to take a break, clear their heads, and then go back to work and be more productive.

Honor the Rests

Can you imagine what music would be like with no rests? Try humming a familiar tune without honoring the rests, and you'll soon recognize their value.

If you are one who has difficulty relaxing when you have free time, your body is probably so accustomed to running on adrenaline that it does not know how to derive its fuel from healthier sources. It's time to start practicing new behaviors that reduce your reliance on adrenaline.

Restore rest in your life by trying some of these ideas:
  • Identify one day a week on which you choose not to conduct any business - no professional meetings or calls, correspondence, checking for messages or e-mail, etc. Many people choose Sunday for their "day of rest."
  • Plan something to rejuvenate yourself -- perhaps a massage, bubble bath, listening to relaxing music, or losing yourself in a good book., or doing some gardening.
  • Determine the number of hours of sleep you need for optimal functioning. Create a plan to help you get the rest you need.
  • Breathe deeply. When running on adrenaline, we have a tendency towards shallow breathing. When we deprive our bodies of oxygen, we experience such things as cold hands, high blood pressure, and feeling anxious.
  • Get moving! A brisk walk or some other form of exercise is one of the best things you can do to reduce stress and restore health to your adrenal system. By releasing some of the adrenaline, your body will be in a more receptive state to rest.

April is Stress Awareness Month. Paauwerfully Orgnaized provides the following services to assist you and your company in reducing stress:
  • Organizational & Productivity Consulting
  • Implementation of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger -- Find anything in 5 seconds or less…guaranteed!
  • Business and Personal Coaching
  • Workshops & Public Speaking on a variety of topics related to organization, productivity, and time management

Get my FREE Organizational Assessment tool.
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by decluttering their schedules, spaces, and minds.


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This article is by Kathy Paauw of Paauwerfully Organized. Kathy's web site is a comprehensive resource devoted to helping busy professionals and small business owners de-clutter their schedules, spaces, and minds so they can focus on what's most important. Kathy is an organizing & productivity consultant, certified business & personal coach, and speaker. Contact her here. For free resources and valuable productivity tools visit .

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Warm regards,

Kathy Paauw, Paauwerfully Organized


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