Awareness: the 60/40 ratio for work

Many of us get overwhelmed by the demands of our daily lives. At work and at home we feel we need to be going at 100% non-stop go at all times or we will miss something or even consider ourselves a failure. The problem with this is that the lesson and all the substance of that particular experience gets drowned out by the busy action you are undertaking. Then the lesson you missed will be presented to you over and over again. You’ll likely be caught up in an endless cycle of trying to catch up.

When teaching, I instruct my meditation class to really only listen to about 60% or so of what I’m saying. The other 40% should be focused on your breath. In this way, I always know the person is present and aware. At work, I follow the same principle. I work at about 60% of the capacity I could actually go if I worked non-stop. Now, no one call my boss, I still get a tremendous amount done in that 60% window. I also know my pace is much higher than the average librarian. But I have noticed that my work quality diminishes when I go past that 60% threshold. The work I produce when I am not going full throttle is focused and well thought out. It’s softer and kinder and much more compassionate in action.

So what do I do with the other 40%? Well, that is the time I use to connect and engage with others. That’s the time I’m aware of others and my environment. I place just as much value on this as I do the tasks I have to do.

Remember, that paying attention to the breath brings us back to home. It’s our anchor. Make sure you have awareness that you are in fact breathing throughout the day. It will help you feel calm and centered. Ask yourself if what you think is critical, is really all that important when you compare it to a larger scale. So take yourself out of the situation, take your workplace out of the environment and think about it from a broader prospective.

As I have told my coworkers at my past library numerous times when people get crazy (and people get super crazy at a public library), let us bring the situation back down to reality. We are librarians running unauthorized, unofficial, completely non-legit, sometimes sketchy programs at a library in TR, NJ. In the grand scheme of themes, it’s not earth shattering work.

Be well friends!

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