Tricycles, Nintendo, summer vacations, and lollipops — the good life. Things were so simple when we were kids. We would wake up when our alarm clock (mom) would rouse us and go back to sleep as soon as she left the room.
We would go to school, pretend to pay attention, throw shit at other classmates when the teacher was writing stuff on the blackboard (remember those?), sit through a half hour of detention, go home, avoid doing homework and watch cartoons. Looking back on it all now, it was the perfect life — so simple.
There's a reason we all look back on these memories with such a keen sense of nostalgia. Life was literally better. Not because playing Nintendo can compare to the debauchery that is Masked Orgy Thursdays, but it's a close second.
It was the simplicity that we found so appealing, so natural. It was the lack of feeling rushed, of feeling the constant need to improve ourselves and reach our next goal. The only thing we focused on until the 8th grade was living, plain and simple.
This simplicity is what most of us are missing. Instead, we tend to pack our lives full of tasks that we feel must be accomplished, spending our days worrying about them until they are. We no longer just live. Our lives have become task sheets that we go over and over in our minds, checking items off as we trudge through our day.
Lunchtime used to be a time to forget, a time to relax and have fun, now it's a time to regroup and reorganize remaining tasks. While I do believe that having a strong work ethic is necessary for a happy and successful life, there needs to be down time.
The problem is that it becomes difficult to turn our bustling minds off when we need to. It is near impossible to come to a complete stop from a full-out sprint. The key is to avoid sprinting in the first place.
Yes, sometimes sprinting is required; we can't always be strolling through life. But generally our lives don't require the sprinting that we pressure ourselves into. Instead of running full force for as long as you can until you crash, try speed walking.
Let's say that you have 10 available slots in your day in which you can fit different tasks. Most people will squeeze everything they possibly can into the first five, leaving the remaining five free — or so they believe. The problem with this is that in order to accomplish the first five tasks within the first five slots, you need to crank up the gears to the maximum.
This would be fine if we were machines, but our minds don't work like that. We, at least most of us, don't have the ability to purge our minds of everything and to slow the gears down to a standstill on demand. We end up plowing through our jam-packed first five slots and then we end up trying to slow down for the remaining five — usually without success.
Keep things simple and slow. If you have 10 slots available and only need five slots to get all your work done, then alternate between slots. You may end up needing six slots to get everything done, but having four slots of peaceful simplicity scattered throughout your day will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the next day's tasks.
Simplicity in the workplace is very important. It will leave your mind feeling light and available for inspiration. However, it can't end as soon as you walk out of your office — simplicity must be found throughout all aspects of your life.
We work hard and we play hard; that is Generation-Y in a nutshell. Sometimes though it is a good idea to step back from all that playing and take some time to just be. We all ought to take time out of our days to slow down and allow ourselves to feel grounded. Yes, I know that it is happy hour.
I know that slutty Jenny from the 5th floor has most definitely gotten at least 3 drinks in her, and thanks to her anorexic-build, is most likely already swaying in the wind and looking for a knob to slob, but there is always tomorrow. Keep things simple. Take a walk or do some meditating.
Meditation a bit too hippy for you? Then go home and do some repetitive manual labor like dishwashing or vacuuming- as long as you do them in near silence you will find that they have a certain calming simplicity to them.
Once in a while we all get the silly notion that we are supermen and women and can do anything. Well, we can do anything, but it takes time. You can do anything, but you can't do everything; remember that. In order to maximize productivity it is necessary to keep things as simple and as medium-paced as possible.
It's true: slow and steady really does win the race. The hare dropped dead of an Adderall and cocaine induced heart attack a few miles back. Work hard and play hard- but keep your life simple. If all else fails, reach for the nearest bottle of tequila or green the nearest bowl.
Paul Hudson | Elite.
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