How to Have an Uninspired, Unintentional, and Unmotivated Day!
You are suddenly awakened from a sluggish slumber to a pesky preprogrammed alarm on your phone. Despite the original intention to help you happily get your day started, you are jolted upright and as if on autopilot, you hit the snooze button. 10 minutes later you are abruptly awakened from a half-dream and you hit snooze again. This process repeats itself a few times before you realize that there is barely enough time to shower. However, you sleepily drag yourself to the bathroom and scramble just enough energy to clean yourself up.
Knowing that you are no longer “on-time” you pick up your pace. The frustration is apparent as you peer into your reflection of the bathroom mirror. You are frowning. You are tired, wanting to go back to bed and dreading the day ahead. At least you have coffee...But wait. You are now running late. You brush your teeth and know that you can’t make your lunch (you never do for a lack of time). Breakfast may have to be soggy Cheerios in milk or a bagel and cream cheese that you grab with a coffee-to-go from the nearest drive-thru.
As you rush to your car, you turn on the news and listen to the latest in killings, shootings, political unrest and adulterous affairs that have recently been uncovered in the media. Your political persuasion is being tried and you can feel your heartbeat increase as you think of all the “idiots” in the world who just don’t get it. Why can’t they think like me? Just as this thought crosses your mind, traffic comes to a halt. You are now surrounded by pulsing red brake lights and your somewhat gentle pace has now suddenly changed to a snail's pace crawl. You’re pretty sure that if the traffic picks up soon, you will still have just enough time to grab that coffee.
You start to feel you are missing something; that you have forgotten something important. At this moment, your phone starts to blow up with text messages. You see part of a message that states, “don’t forget....” Don’t forget what? You remember that you have a meeting at 9 am. Wait. Were you supposed to prepare something for it? Oh, shoot! You were supposed to review the latest reporting numbers with your boss. You had originally thought that if you got to work a little early you could prepare for the meeting; but, now you have to wing it.
Standing in the coffee line, you notice there are three people in front of you. You are nearly two minutes late to your meeting, now. You calculate that if the folks in front of you hurry, you can make it just after the introductions. Perhaps, folks won't’ even notice. However, as irony would have it, the reality is that it doesn’t quite work out this way. You walk into your meeting seven minutes late, bagel in hand and everyone looks up as you hear yourself apologetically explain that “there was traffic this morning.” Everyone is looking at your bagel unamused and they each provide you with a half-hearted and seemingly sincere smile. Your boss looks like she is trying to ignore you. Then, her gaze raises only to catch you with your mouth fully packed with dry bagel bites and asks, “Can you tell the team how we did this week?” Your mind goes blank...
An hour later you head to your desk, knowing that you may have a moment to collect yourself and to redeem your tardiness with an e-mail summarization of the statistics that you fluffed in this morning’s meetings. You may have a chance to prepare for the conference call at 4:00 pm, if you don't’ have any distractions.
While at your desk, you hear repeated chimes alerting you to the barrage of e-mails coming in from colleagues and your boss. You peruse them looking for anything you need to open, now. You see your boss as an alert for you. She is wondering if you will have the report ready for the conference call, today as the team is depending on your input to move forward. You will have plenty of time.
A co-worker steps into your office needing some assistance with a project. They take a seat. You oblige. You want to help. You nervously look at your clock and know that your time to prepare for the conference call is dwindling. You see some texts come up on your phone. Your method of answering these texts while your co-worker asks for help, is simple multi-tasking and you're serving two people at once, right?
45 minutes later, your co-worker steps out of your office.You start working on your report and you realize that you have to ensure that you get copies for everyone before the meeting starts. You determine that 5 minutes will be enough. As you calculate the time left to prepare, you get a text from a friend asking if you are coming to the party this weekend, noting that you haven’t RSVP’d yet. Distracted, you quickly look at your calendar. You realize you have two other events that day, but you should be able to fit everything in if you don't linger too long at any event. You reply that you'll be there, and assume that once you discuss it with your spouse later, he will understand that you "have" to go.Wait. Spouse. You are supposed to be home at 6 pm for dinner. You think you may be able to leave at 6 pm if you get out of your conference call on time. You decide you will text your husband if you think the meeting will go later than that.
Now, you have exactly four minutes before the 4 pm conference call and you still need to make copies. You dash to the copy machine and see that there is someone ahead of you who is making 150 copies of the company newsletter. You're irritated because your meeting is important and the newsletter can wait, right? You sharply ask if you can interrupt their copy job, knowing that she will just "get it". She hesitatingly obliges and you start your copying. Then, the copy machine, which hasn't been fed in a while, decided to chew on some paper and jam up your process. You fiddle with it for a couple of minutes and now you are two minutes late. You finish your copy job and rush off to your meeting.
Your boss is unamused and chooses to not look up as you enter the room. Chances are that ignoring your tardiness is more polite than addressing your rudeness in front of the team. She is probably right. Everyone is present and taking notes feverishly while on the conference call. Your presentation has been skipped as it was the first item on the agenda -- and now, Thomas is providing the newest marketing results from the last launch.
When your boss finally acknowledges you, she asks you to provide your department statistics. You have them all on paper. She asks you if you remembered to bring the next year's projections. Oh, shoot! Is that what her e-mail was about? You didn't have time to check with her first before you came to the meeting. You let her know that you can follow up with the projections in an e-mail to all of those folks who are on the call. She is really not amused; but, quickly dismisses your lack of preparation and moves on to the next presenter.
It is now 6:15 pm. You have two texts from your husband asking if you are on your way. You feel the need to stretch the truth and say you are headed to your car; that you couldn't text him because you were presenting in a meeting. He'll understand, right? You walk through the door at 7:00pm. Dinner is half eaten and cold, on the table and your husband is reading a book in the living room. He gets up to greet you and you get an "I'm only kissing you because I feel I have to" greeting at the door. You explain again that you didn't plan to leave that late. You are angry now that he is not more understanding and your defensive mode kicks in. Why can't he just let it go? Why is he not understanding that you are trying to help pay the bills and can't make everyone happy?
You now have no energy and just want to lose yourself in binge-watching whatever will pop up on T.V. You watch the late night show, not feeling ready to go to bed quite yet. You reflexively jump on your phone to check for any e-mail updates. You notice that your boss has e-mailed you wanting to get clarity on the numbers you provided in the meeting. Now, you feel a surge of adrenaline pumping through your veins. Weren't you clear in your presentation? Didn't you give her what she wants? Now, your mind is racing and you are definitely not ready for bed. It is 11:20 pm and you are lying awake thinking about how you are going to respond to her tomorrow. An hour passes. Two hours pass.
Your alarm jolts you awake and you hit snooze. The process repeats itself all over again...
Can you relate to this day outlined above, at all? This used to be my day, over and over again for years. It wasn't until I did some serious soul-searching that I realized that I actually had control over how I lived my days; how I interacted with others; how I "showed up" for people; how I planned my day. While the day outlined above is typical for many, the busyness of life and the barrage of "to-do"s entrenched in a flood of e-mails and facebook notifications are the very reason why we feel drained, unaccomplished and uninspired at the end of our day. It was this realization that let me search for answers to how I could live a more meaningful life. In the next post (you can check it out here), I'll outline what an inspired, intentional, and motivated day looks like...I have come a long way and have even further to go. However, I can honestly say that I never want to go back to the unintentional day as my template for living my life.