Hey you! Hold it. We know you need to get to the next thing on your to-do list. And the next thing after that. And the next thing after that. And the…
You’re too busy right? And you’re saturated with advice on how to achieve work-life balance—so that’s it’s all one big blur that *may* flash through your brain on your way to where you need to get.
Hustling and bustling our lives away can make us crazy. So how do we focus on life instead? By NOTICING. At least that’s the prescription from Margery Leveen Sher, author of The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing: Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine. She says we slow down by opening our eyes to the world we’re living in. By learning to Notice, we are not changing our routines at all. But Noticing can change our lives because it’s the little things around us that give life meaning.
(Oh, and you can start by Noticing that Tuesday is a sad, neglected day. It is not a day for moaning and groaning like Monday. It is not hump day, like Wednesday. It does not almost kick off the weekend like Thursday. And it is not TGIF. Tuesday needs a huge celebration for itself, so Notice it, please.)
A CREATIVE GUIDE LIVING A HAPPIER LIFE BY NOTICING
1. ENGAGE THE SENSES
You have to consciously use your five senses—all the time. Whatever you’re up to—walking, driving, having lunch—ask yourself: How many things can I see, hear, smell, taste, touch? Hey, when was the last time you really inspected the sky and all the different clouds and colours? Yeah, that’s what we thought.
2. TAKE A LEAP
Once you are getting good at Noticing with all your senses, it’s time to move on to the harder stuff. Ready to make the leap to zippers, broccoli, and Human Idiosyn-Crazies? Yes, you read that correctly. Keep reading.
3. ZIPPERS. YES, ZIPPERS.
Zippers are the best invention of all time! Oh yes they are. Zip. Zip. So much fun! The zipper is a simple, satisfying invention that works. Use the term and the concept of a zipper to find other things in your life that work and are simple to use. Once you Notice zippers, you can find other ways to use them to simplify your life.
For example, in the workplace, a zipper is a template to a report. It helps you to figure out what should go into the report and it makes it easier to write. A template is a zipper, aka a simple thing that works. Minutes and agendas for a meeting are zippers, too. At home, a family calendar is a zipper. When everyone’s appointments and events are on the same calendar, it’s simpler to figure out transportation and timing. Start by Noticing zippers, so you can find ways to use them to simplify your life.
4. BROCCOLI PATTERNS
Did you ever notice that a broccoli is made up of smaller heads of broccoli? And those are made up of even smaller heads of broccoli? Broccoli is a repeating pattern. There are patterns throughout nature and also in the ways work gets done and in the ways people behave. Why is the office kitchen always a mess? It’s a broccoli—a pattern. When you Notice a broccoli, you can either replicate it if it’s good, or disrupt it if it’s bad.
5. HUMAN CRAZINESS Human Idiosyn-Crazies ™ are the endearingly dumb things we all do. Word of warning: We should first Notice them in ourselves before we go on a hunt for the ones that belong to others. A good rule of thumb is to laugh at yourself as much as humanly possible because self-laughter builds up the fuel to be kinder to other people. You just can’t help it.
PS: Don’t forget to keep in mind Annoying Things to Notice, too, like self-flushing toilets that don’t, ubiquitous acronyms so that nobody knows what anybody is talking about anymore, totally silent cars that sneak up and scare the bejesus out of you,when you are simply trying to jaywalk. If you Notice the annoying things in life, they won’t freak you out.
Be mindful. Smile. Notice!
Margery Leveen Sher is the Founder and Chief Noticing Officer of The Did Ya Notice? Project™. She’s a speaker, writer, entrepreneur, and executive who has had a long consulting career working with corporations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and foundations. She founded and successfully developed a for-profit consulting firm, over 30 non-profit organizations, and two charitable funds. She frequently writes on the topic of work-life balance. Margery’s latest book is The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing.