Want to be more productive? Block time on your calendar.

During this time of year, parents all over the country are getting up at 4:30 am in the morning on the weekends to drive their children to all-day regional volleyball tournaments.  Some people even fly out of state for the national tournaments.  This didn’t really exist when I was younger, or at least I didn’t know about it.  Both of my girls were a part of club volleyball for about 5 years.  At times my husband and I would have to split up to attend each child’s tournament because they were happening at the same time in two different places.  Unfortunately, my kids were born to shorter parents and didn’t end up being taller than 5 foot 1 inch so becoming a professional player or even a college player was going to be a stretch.  I always joked that had I known they were going to play volleyball, I would have married someone taller!

I used to bring my laptop to get caught up on email when my daughter wasn’t playing, but it isn’t really a great place for working or even reading a book on a tablet.   It is loud and the internet is kind of hit or miss.  You have hundreds of volleyball players immediately on their phones when they aren’t playing, so it is limited bandwidth for anyone looking for a strong signal.   One day one of the parents asked me if I was getting anything done.  I laughed and said, “not really, but I wish I were.”  He said “I have given up. Now I look at this time on the weekends as forced relaxation and I try to enjoy it.”

I thought about what he said and realized how sad it is that we have to be forced into relaxation.   We are so connected to technology now that it is difficult to be disconnected.  I could look at it negatively or I could start to see what the positives were instead.    I began looking at this time as an opportunity to meet new people, read the newspaper and to focus more on whichever daughter was playing that day.  I got to spend a lot of time bonding with them on the drive to the tournaments and on the way home.   When your teenager is a captive audience in the car you can learn a lot about what is going on in their lives.

I am not sure things would have been the same if I was cranky about being at a tournament all day and only saw things negatively.  This was about them, not about me.  No matter what may be happening, try to see what is positive about it.  You may not have to take any forced relaxation, but try to find a way to give yourself some uninterrupted time to think today.  Even 10-15 minutes can have a positive impact in your life.

Taking some time away from email and work may be just what you need to come up with a big creative idea or a new solution to a problem.  Try this out and let me know if it works for you!

By the way, if you haven’t joined my Leadership Facebook Group yet, please click here to join:  Creating Leadership Connections Facebook Group

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