Full disclosure…I had something else written and was about to hit “Post” when I had a moment of inspiration. Don’t worry, I will get back to that other post next month as it is really important and I want to share. When the idea I’m going to share hit me on a sunny day here in my awesome, adopted city of Philadelphia, I had to switch gears. I actually had to sit down and start writing down my thoughts (with real pen and paper!) to make sure this idea didn’t get drowned out once I got back to my inbox and to-do list on my desk.
We all need to take more walks. Seems like a simple concept, right? Ok then, when was the last time you left your phone on your desk, pushed back your chair, grabbed an iPod for some tunes and just walked? I’m alluding to a walk with no errands, no destination, no phone call with a potential client (or camp family) or any other technology driven distraction.
Well, I have to admit that as much as I tell myself that it’s probably a good idea, most of my walks tend to be built around a purpose. I actually can’t remember the last time I took a walk just for the sake of walking. It is usually to visit someone or someplace, go to the gym or meet friends for dinner. So, in the midst of a busy day, I decided to drop it all, put some sneakers on and just stroll around the city.
This is an insanely busy time for camp people; I get it because I was one of you. I can’t stress enough that taking an uninterrupted, non-programmed walk will actually make you more productive, enhance your creativity and give you more focus. Here is what I was in the midst of when I decided to push the pause button for an hour: 2 different clients that I’m developing staff training for, 19 students and 9 mentors that I’m helping get through a Practicum process so those students can graduate, a couple of projects for ExpertOnlineTraining and come other proposals which will hopefully lead to camp clients. This was on top of the 75-100 emails I get a day about curriculum, student work, grades, paperwork, etc. So, I am pulled in many different directions and most days seem like it is not possible to get it all done. I obviously had all of these stresses in my mind as I walked and like most of you, I can't just ignore my responsibilities. The way I thought about all these important pieces of work is what changed.
My decision to hit that pause button, put on some good tunes and go outside led to these 5 results:
- After 10 minutes of trying to figure out where my phone was, I actually felt RELAXED!
- I felt like a FRIENDLIER, less stressed version of myself and found myself saying hello and smiling at complete strangers!
- I was INSPIRED! Like I said earlier, I had to stop (more than once) to write ideas for all those “problems” that were sitting on my desk.
- I felt REFRESHED after only 30 minutes. I started feeling lighter on my feet and my energy levels were quickly back to 100 percent.
- I came back to my desk and felt completely FOCUSED on the tasks on my to-do list. I made better decisions (and made them quicker) and I am pretty confident that my level of work was better.
That’s my personal experience and I encourage you to try it yourself. See what happens and enjoy your walk!
And, if you don’t believe me and need more proof, here’s some science: http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/walking-helps-us-think