Quiet Time… Lesson Learned?

Welcome to my weekly Operation Melt update where I share the ups, downs and lessons learned from living a post weight loss fit life.

Lessons Taught

In project management there is a process called “lessons learned” where teams conduct a review after a project to learn what went well and poorly within each project. These lessons are then applied to make future projects better. But sometimes find the same lessons learned to be identified over and over again. This has led me to sometimes refer to these meetings, in jest, as “lessons taught” meetings as a nod to our failure to truly learn these lessons.

This week it dawned on me that this same thing has been happening in my non professional life too. I sometimes need to learn the same lesson over and over again before it finally sticks.

So Much Noise

Like many of us my life before COVID was a constant stream of stimulation, information and noise as I balanced each of my different priorities. Career, fitness, life, etc.

Work time effectively starts from about an hour after I wake up and is all about getting ready, commuting, living the project manager life (lots of meetings, action items, emails, calls) and continues throughout the day and, sometimes, into the evenings. Constant stimulation, activity, noise, screen time and minimal whitespace.

Exercise time, which is another big portion of my week, is also full of stimulation, data, and noise. I always have music or podcasts going. Sometimes I have calls while walking. Then I have a constant stream of data into my brain like my pace, heart rate, distance, calorie burn.

My free time is pretty similar as I watch tv, go to restaurants to talk to people and have lots of screen time moments.

Never a Quiet Moment

All of this stimulation means that I have a life full of stimulation, or “noise.”

I was taught the value of quiet time during my sabbatical two years ago where I used the “me” time to accomplish many big goals.

I was taught this lesson again a couple of months ago when I decided to go for a few runs without music and just be with my thoughts.

Just a few weeks ago I even wrote about how I have learned to be a good listener to my body and mind / emotions / feelings. This comes from quiet time. (see My Hazardous Mistake)

Despite being taught these lessons many times I still haven’t learned them. And my life still was absent many quiet moments.

COVID Hits the Mute Button

In the middle of March I, like many of us, experienced the suddenness of COVID quarantine time.

This meant suddenly working from home full time. This work from home was initially just me because my wife kept going into the office for a bit. The work from home also meant far less time getting ready for and commuting each day.

At work, because my client is a healthcare system, my projects that are unrelated to COVID got a lot quieter. Meetings were cancelled and there was more wait time between activities.

COVID time meant quiet time for me. My work kept moving forward but there was a lot more quiet time. There was a lot more “alone” time through the day. I also reinvested a lot of my daily prep and commute time into ramping up exercise (walking and running) which meant a lot more “alone” time there too.

Quiet Time

This week it dawned on me just how valuable this quiet time has been.

I have had some time to reflect on the events of the past couple of years as I approach the third anniversary of the decision that changed my life. I have been able to work through some things in my mind that have been sitting there as barriers for a while. I have had an opportunity to plan some things and learn more about some topics of interest to me. I have identified some topics and events in my past that I need to really dig deeper into and write about so I can fully process them.

In short, I was re-taught the lesson of how important quiet time is. I am not saying that I have learned the lesson quite yet, but maybe.

I am going to continue to work to treasure my quiet time even as the world starts returning to normalcy. I may even make earbud-free walking/running more of a factor in my life so I can be with my thoughts.

Tell Me What You Think

How have YOU learned to value and leverage your quiet time? Tell me what you think about today’s post (or anything else) by sending me a note via the Contact Me link above or via a comment on social media.

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About Operation Melt

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my transformational weight loss story. After I achieved success with that goal it has evolved into a platform that to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My goal is to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.