why are we so tired?

I posted a few weeks ago about a recent air-travel experience. In the post, I noted that everyone involved -- travelers, flight attendants, pilots, gate people -- seemed exhausted. They all seemed beat down, like they had nothing left.

Today I saw this article on the NY Times website,. It echoed my earlier observations, but from the perspective of a flight attendant instead of a passenger. It made me wonder: why are we so tired?

I think that most people tend to take on too much. We tend to do, or aspire to do, more than we can. What follows is a noted dip in the opposite direction: we crash. We take on so much that it's hard to figure out where to start, so we simply retreat into nothing. We hide our heads in the sand until some, or all, of it goes away. We find that it's easier to spend a lifetime watching television than actually doing things, whatever they may be.

Most productivity experts will tell you that multitasking is actually useless. When you multitask, it's impossible to focus on any one thing and everything ends up taking longer.When people complain about not having enough time to get things done, the first piece of advice usually is: close your email. There are times at the day job when my email will be closed without my realizing it. When this occurs, I'm always amazed at how much I'm able to accomplish, and how quickly things get wrapped up.

So, what would happen if we shut down the email-type clutter from our lives? What if we looked at our lives and took stock, figured out what's taking up unnecessary space? (Note: yes, I do realize that email at work is necessary. BUT, it's not necessary all the time. What if you only checked your email (gasp!) every thirty minutes? And, really, it's a metaphor -- just go with it) What if we really took stock of our habits, our relationships, our activities and figured out what was just a time-filler and what actually was fulfilling, enriching, and inspiring? 

I do recognize that doing this, a virtual life spring-cleaning, isn't always easy. Sometimes it can bring about big changes - scary changes - that we aren't ready for. Sometimes people get their feeling hurt when you start pulling back. Sometimes it's really hard to let go of a crutch and challenge yourself to do other things. And, yet, reading this, I'm sure you know as well as I do that the results of something like this can be so meaningful, so life-affirming, that you can't ignore it. You can't just let it go, continue on with your routine...forever. Bleh -- doesn't that sound like no fun at all?

And, this is what I'm doing. Trying to wake myself up. Bring about a change from the inside, and allow myself the energy to focus on my changes. It's hard, and scary (this appears to be a recurring theme on the blog, yes?) but I know that so many good things are coming to me. That ball's still rollin', trust me on that!