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Issue 91

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In this issue ~~

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Having a Bad "Tortoise" Day

Those of you who know me know that I’m a self-proclaimed “Tortoise.”  I’m ambitious, and even a little driven, but . . . I’m not a high-energy person, and that’s often frustrating when I have a lot of things I want to accomplish.

I’ve written books and done classes on “Being a Tortoise in a World of Hares.” I have lots of strategies for dealing with “Tortoise-ness.”  It all sounds cute on paper, but when I’m having a Bad Tortoise Day, it’s still tough.  Here’s how I handle it:

1)  I beat myself up. I know I shouldn’t have stayed up that extra half hour reading The Devil Wears Prada, but I did, and now I’m exhausted and facing a packed day of work to do.

2) I try and push myself to work through it, thinking I’ll waste time if I stop for a nap or take the day off, and it’ll all come crashing down on me.

As you may have guessed, this is not how I’m advising you to handle it!

We tend to think that the person who wrote the self-help book has it all together. The truth is, the challenge continues.  I’ve gotten better at prevention, but I still have my Bad Tortoise Days. The difference is that I get over beating myself up a lot more quickly (I’ve got it down to a few seconds!), and I have a lot of strategies to handle it.  Here are a few:

~ Prevention is the best “medicine”:   Don’t take on more than you can handle.  There are so many fun and exciting experiences out there, along with all the obligatory ones, that it’s hard to say “no.”  Say it anyway.  Make some good choices about what you’re capable of taking on.

~ Know your priorities.  When you know what’s important to you, you can make better choices.  It’s especially important, with all the information overload coming our way, to be able to hit the Delete button on things that don’t really matter to us, however interesting they might be.

~ Keep a schedule.  When you see things on paper, you get a clearer picture.  I use a digital calendar, where I can “colorize” different types of appointments. My own coach had me put in “Down Time” in bright green, to make sure to take it.

~ Take that nap.  Or use that meditation tape.  While it may feel like a waste of time, you’ll actually feel more refreshed and be more productive.

~ Build in periods of rest.  If you  know you’ve got a busy time coming up, pencil in a few vacation days, so you can recuperate.  If you’ve got a busy evening, sleep in an extra hour in the morning.

If you’re a Tortoise like me, it’s something you need to learn to live with. Sure, it’s frustrating not having the energy to do all the things you’d love to do. But by making good choices, and being gentle with yourself, you can actually accomplish a lot more than you thought you could. And you’ll come out of it feeling revitalized, rather than exhausted.

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Action Challenge

Where in your life do you need to slow down? Once you’ve identified the area, take it a step at a time. If you’re working too hard, for example, cut back just half an hour a day to start, or choose just one day to leave work at 5. The fear is that things will fall apart if you don’t work so hard, but I bet you they don’t!

 

Wise Words

“Lasting accomplishment  . . . is still achieved through a long, slow climb and self-discipline.”

~ Helen Hayes

“Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”

~ Eddie Cantor

“The much-maligned midday nap can be profoundly rejuvenating. Some corporations have even found that the productivity of their employees goes up when they are allowed to nap.”

~ Christiane Northrup, MD

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

~ Aesop

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Bookshelf

(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)

The Tortoise Workbook: Strategies for Getting Ahead at Your Own Pace . . . Sharon Good

The Type-Z Guide to Success: A Lazy Person's Manifesto to Wealth and Fulfillment . . . Marc Allen

The Importance of Being Lazy . . . Al Gini

How to Be Idle . . . Tom Hodgkinson

In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed . . . Carl Honoré

Take Back Your Time: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America . . . John De Graaf

The Lazy Way to Success: How to Do Nothing and Accomplish Everything . . . Fred Gratzon

Sloth: The Seven Deadly Sins . . . Wendy Wasserstein

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© 2007 Sharon Good. All rights reserved.

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