Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Don't Let the Busywork Obliterate Your Daily Walk

In semi-retirement, life can be more than semi-hectic. I sometimes find my schedule filled with doctors' visits, grandkids' sports, organizational meetings, grocery shopping, birdfeeding, housecleaning, yard work, numerous errands, and writing (yes, even this blog) -- and it all can encroach on the hour I try to set aside for walking and related exercise. Now, throw in a commitment to lead a volunteer organization, with all the demands on time associated with that, and your hour of walking is in serious peril of being squeezed out of the schedule.

My response: Put your foot down. Don't let that happen. You deserve at least an hour of every 24 for your refreshing walk.

Recently when picking up my wife at physical therapy, I came across the "Man's Point of View" column authored by Dr. David W. Powers in the South Carolina Woman's Magazine. Looking back at the past year, Dr. Powers listed a staggering array of professional and personal activities, such as making 110 talks at public events, starting two new businesses, publishing eight Kindle books and 36 magazine articles, and much more, including 33 Cub Scout and 51 sports events with his boys.

Dr. Powers gave every indication he will continue to be plenty busy in 2013, but he gave some sage advice on time management, quoting Dr. Henry Cloud's "Necessary Endings" as an authority. The basic message: Cut the clutter from your schedule to make way for that which is really important. He quoted from Dr. Cloud's book as follows:

"The high-functioning people who have extensive networks and relationships that really work well are also very, very good at not having some, as well. They prune them.

"These people have accepted a reality -- that they generate more activity than they can fruitfully handle. So they can cut these ties without feeling that 'something is wrong' or that they are 'being mean to someone.' They respect the fact that there are limits to what they can do, to whom or what they can invest in."

One place I would not cut is the commitment to family. One place I would take a hard look at is involvement in a long list of organizations that make demands on your time. Volunteer work is wonderful, but you don't do the causes or yourself any favors if you stretch yourself thin.

Personally, I don't want to become so busy that I can't walk my dog at a leisurely pace every single day. I made room today after a dentist's visit, several errands, and taking in my son's dog for daycare. I did so by just putting the leash on Sadie and heading out. Everything else could wait. This daily hour of the walk is necessary to preserve some semblance of physical fitness as well as a large measure of mental health. Just do it.

© Robert G. Holland  2013

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