Outdoors walks have never been my thing, always thought too slow for my personality, too bucolic for a busy executive like myself. Until a friend of my this summer asked me to join her, in her early Sunday morning ritual. I did wonder why should I do that to myself, it is summer , it is vacation, I asked ” why should I get out of bed”. Even worst, it has been an extremely hot Italian summer….and early mornings in bed are fantastic. But my girlfriends, are my girlfriends and finally they win me in.
It was a journey to discover freshness and breathing. The air is fresh and perfumed, the grass is wet from dew and the flowers seem even more colourful. The extreme heat of the day ahead is still far away and the oxygen is incredibly overwhelming. While, walking, looking around and chatting with my mates, I started to think ” why have I never tried this experience before , what has kept me in bed until now ? I started to feel well, I started to feel energetic and started to think that maybe I should plan my free time a bit more, I should not use this hourly walking time just to catch up with a lot of news about friends and family, I should absolutely add this experience to my free time and even start planning my working life differently. Perhaps, instead of doing weekly and monthly planning sitting in front of my PC, it would be wonderful to start doing it while walking on early Sundays. This is exactly what I did…. I started to walk every Sunday of my summer, while my house was very silent , with everyone at sleep, I would sneak out with my girlfriends, my dog or alone, I would hit the walking path and surrounded by beautiful nature and fantastic fresh air, I would start my breathing, my physical exercise and my weekly planning altogether . I would record all my actions on my mobile voice notes , to make sure I would not loose out on my to do’s, ideas and also to have a chance to keep on elaborating on them during working time. WOW, it was a win, win, win situation, the most productive hour of the week, with a mind incredibly relaxed, no calls or emails to answer to ….I would briskly think at my week ahead, run my priorities, decide what to do or what to postpone or drop off the list….and all stress free , my working week was sorted out, boosting my productivity by being able to see beyond the daily needs, looking holistically at the full week ahead and mentally reviewing the achievements of the earlier week, trying to learn from inevitable mistakes I could have encountered. Especially building on the achievements, was very powerful, sometimes, I forget all activities I manage to coordinate at the same time and finding time for self satisfaction or self reward it is not easy.
When vacation came to an end, I kept the habit of the early Sunday morning walks, even without my lovely friends, and… from there, it is now part of my working routine. When Monday mornings arrive , I do not sit in front of a PC to plan the week ahead, that is already done, my to do list already exists, I can just kick start my activities, meet customers, answers emails, run operations and implementations, chair video calls meetings or jump into a plane. I have boosted my productivity, increase my chances of success, improve my physical well being and all has been achieved by breathing swiftly during Sunday morning breeze. My performance have been positively hit by a simple change to my Sunday routine and working smarter.
I, also, started to think that I can apply my early Sunday morning walks methodology on long term planning and see if I can have a the same positive impact, at least in a form of visualising the opportunities and the threats ahead for the business. Being able to connect the knots of the world around me without pressure would be an ambitious path to pursue. However, thinking that, with no stress and with alot of breathing and oxygen, could allow my brain to think without barriers and bias, without limitations and great ideas could emerge faster from the depth of my mind it is extremely tempting. Knowing that I have a new methodology where to enjoy the planning phase of my work, while boosting productivity and increasing the threshold of my objectives, is tempting and is worth a try.
What a summer! and what a fruitful, incredible vacation and…… all thanks to my girlfriends and their walking suggestions.
Breath in, breath out.