Is Happiness a Butterfly Just Beyond Your Grasp?

You’re busy right? You run all day. At work you’re getting as much done as you can in as little time as you can, then you rush home and do the same thing, just different tasks.

I completely get that – I’ve been there and lived that life. And at some point you accidently get a moment to yourself and you wonder if this is really what your life is supposed to look like or maybe it just hits you one day.

So, what’s the first thing you do? Try to figure out how to get more time! If I get my all my tasks done faster, then I’ll have more time to do other things, right? So, you get a book about organizing (I have Getting Things Done on my bookshelf) and maybe find a blog or two on the subject and start implementing. Then one of two things probably happens:

  1. You get organized and start getting more done faster, but spend the extra time you gained cranking through more to-do’s
  2. Getting organized the way the books or blogs tell you to is a huge time investment in itself that you don’t have to spend and you feel a bit like you let yourself down.

Notice that in both scenarios you didn’t create time for you.

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Happiness doesn’t need you to make elaborate plans to find it. Often when you create a little space in your day it will find you. Take 10 minutes today to be alone and do nothing. One of my mentors once said that she spent 10 minutes each day being bored. At first she had to force herself. She’d set a timer for 10 minutes and throw herself on her couch and do nothing until the timer went off.

Was she happier during those 10 minutes then during the rest of the day? I’d wager a no on that one, but it did allow her to feel what it was like to slow down and not be running on adrenaline. Sure you get an endorphin rush when you’re running on adrenaline, but it tires you out! You’ll actually be more productive when you’re working from a place of calm then from constant adrenaline.

Happiness is where we find it, but rarely where we seek it. – J. Petit Senn

When you slow down you start to notice more things around you (less tunnel vision). And then, happiness might just find you where you are and you won’t need to look for it.

What is one thing you can do in the next week to allow yourself to slow down?

Photo credit: 318/365 – drafting drafting drafting. by b rosen via flickr