Daily routine

Slow down and look up

On a day filled with back to back Zoom meetings, it is easy to get so immersed in what’s happening virtually, that we fail to look up and notice the real world around us. Sometimes I find myself so wrapped up in what I’m doing – the numerous Slack pings, the many different browser tabs, the many different threads going on in my mind – that when I eventually look up and notice the trees outside, it’s like… – “Wait….. The world is actually much bigger. Whatever is happening right now – it’s all fine and manageable.”

I know it sounds small – but simply stepping away from your laptop for 5 minutes and looking outside works wonders in helping you gather your thoughts. It’s as if the trance gets broken.

Falling raindrops

In the book The Art of Travel by Alain de Boton, Alain expands upon what is it about nature, that brings out the best in us. Why do we feel at peace when we’re surrounded by nature?

He writes – (and I’m combining excerpts from a few different pages into one over here) – “Our identities are to a greater or lesser extent malleable, changing according to whom – and sometimes what – we’re with. What then may be expected to happen to a person’s identity, in the presence of a cataract, or a mountain or an oak tree?”

“There are concerns that seem indecent in the company of a cliff, their majesty encouraging the steady and high-mindedness in ourselves, their size teaching us to respect with good grace and an awed humility, all that surpasses us. It is of course still possible to feel envy for a colleague before a mighty cataract, but if the Wordsworthian message is to be believed, it is highly unlikely.”

Excerpts from The Art of Travel by Alain de Boton

Now of course, we can’t be expected to find a cliff to find solace in front of, after every hour spent on the laptop 🙂 But it is indeed true that there is something about being in the presence of nature that tends to bring out the best in us – oaks dignity, pines resolution, lakes calm. While looking outside is not the same as being in the middle of a gorgeous landscape, it’s better than staring at pixels all day long.

So – no matter where you’re working, if you have access to a window or a door, look up from your laptop and look outside for a few minutes every now and then. Slow down. Take a deep breath. Look outside. Smile.

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