As I glance about the Memphis airport terminal, no one is excited to be there. It’s 5:00 a.m. I recognize nearly every bleary-eyed passenger at the gate from the evening before when we were rebooked. It’s oddly quiet for a terminal. No ones speaking on cell phones. Its too early for that. And most of us only slept about 4 hours after being dismissed to our various comped hotels late the night before.
To Kill or to Live
We’ve got 45 minutes until boarding. What to do? It is in quiet uneventful moments like these that makes or breaks productivity. For it is in these unexpected pause points where we reflexively live or kill the minutes. The choice we make often depends on our prior patterns.
I am not really thinking about that when I pull out my kindle and go through my morning bible reading and prayer time. All finished, I pop open my brief case and process mail that I tossed in at the last minute. Doing so knocks out an unfinished task.
My body is stiff and achey from being sedentary in a car the day before. The stress of a missed flight, two re-bookings, and sleep deprivation doesn’t help any, so I stroll to an empty gate and do yoga for about 20 minutes. Aaaaah, much better. My body is grateful.
With still some time left I return to my gate, flip open an issue of Success Magazine and highlight some action points. Lastly, I brainstorm this blog post until they call out my boarding group and record the notes in my phone.
It hits me after the fact that I had just crunched out about 4 or 5 high value activities and an unfinished task. I can’t tell you how many other times I have been in similar scenarios where I simply killed time doing something meaningless.
What was different? I was different. Weeks of using a 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner, completing 5 Before 11® Tasks, and staying focused on high value micro-actions had re-shaped my brain and my default choices. I was and am a very new and different me. I am a person now who reflexively chooses to live time rather than kill time in the unexpected pauses.
Who are you?
How often do you have dead spaces of time? How often do you find yourself waiting in line? Sitting in traffic? Or on pause because someone else is running late?
You know you will have those moments. What will you do with them? Will you kill them or live them? What could you do to live into your highest values during those unexpected pauses?
I want to challenge you to write down a list of 7 things you can do during unexpected pauses. Write them. Post them. Carry them. Internalize them. And for the next 7 days act on at least one each time you have unexpected time on your hands.
Here’s 7 to get you started:
1. Pray for people around you.
2. Breathe big. Consciously taking full deep breaths. This is amazingly great for your body and your brain.
3. Brainstorm an idea or solutions to a problem. That’s how I came up with this blog post.
4. Put an inspirational book or audio on your phone to listen to. (or even just carry a couple of inspiring quotes to memorize–a great brain builder)
5. Connect with someone. Engage someone around you and get to know them. An amazing amount of meaning comes from our connections.
6. Pause and pay attention to each one of your senses. This practice is really great for developing your right brain and pushes you toward more conscious living (one of the 7 Minute vital signs).
7. Stretch. Stand up on your toes and reach high, twist from side to side, etc. Or if you don’t want to be so obvious, just tense and relax muscle groups. Your body will thank you.
I would LOVE to hear your ideas. Please comment below.
Have a wonderful, meaningful and productive week!
Chief Inspiration Officer
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