It's easy to become absorbed by the happy demands of work. With the taste of adrenaline running high in our low interest rate environment, one could be forgiven for working longer hours and chasing the next deal. I find myself making calls on Saturday mornings and jumping when my blackberry 'pings' that I have a message at all hours. Our underwriters in other time zones and and of course buyers and their agents want a response on their schedule.
So how does one find the time (and enough sleep) to keep inspiration flowing?
I learned early in my career to take a mini break every day. It doesn't matter how long. I heard a story about Alfred Einstein years ago: He was said to take cat naps during the day by sitting back in his chair (at work or wherever he was) . He would hold his key ring full of keys in one hand. Then he would consciously relax and let himself slip into a dream state. After a little while, his hand would relax, the keys would slip and hit the floor, and he would be awakened by the sound. He figured out that was enough time to refresh his mind. Then he would go back to work.
Alfred Einstein was also a rather keen sailor and had a little sailing dingy he used to take out off Long Island. In this small craft, he could escape the demands and distractions of his career and connect with nature and the elements in a visceral way. He was often seen tinkering with the sails or battling the wind in that little dingy in some pretty awful weather. But he always came home tired and happy.
If I feel something starting to get under my skin, I just leave my office and walk down the street and say hi to a few people on the way. I've learned to put the phone down, take a deep breath and make a call to an elderly friend or someone I know would appreciate it. Totally off subject; off my personal focus. I've also started a creative project to focus on during my evenings. Gardening is my muse during spring to fall.
Otherwise, I admit I sometimes fall into the 'irreplaceable notion' that leaving work even for a day suggests nothing could possibly go right without me. It's so easy to sink into a kind of anticipation for the day I come back to face an unknown pile of unmet demands. I have learned that ultimately, any time out I spend not working needs to be away from the focus of other's needs so that when I come back in that door I am refreshed and in a positive mood, able to perform at my best. Being my best is up to me, after all.
I received a very nice lesson the other day. A very kind elderly gentlemen I had not met before called and asked to come in to chat about some lending issues in general. While he was there, we took an application and got things rolling on his home refinance. He opened up a bit. I enjoyed getting to know him. Some time elapsed before he asked me if I could also help him with a future home purchase goal. Then he asked me if I could help his daughter and he talked about her situation. We talked amicably for a while and by the time he left I realized I had possibly three loans to follow up. Just like that. had I been focused on 'doing the deal' he might have just left.
So my new theme is to relax and let things evolve. Be open to the moment. Become a human being, and less of a 'human doing'.
How do others unwind in the heat of battle? I'd love to hear your inspirations!