When you synthesise your passions, amazing stuff happens. I’ve just got back from a couple of weeks in the North West of Australia. While I was there, I combined two of my favourite things: the work that I do, and being out there in the grand majesty of nature. More specifically, I created and filmed an entirely new curriculum for the Change Makers programme on one of my favourite beaches in the world. Then I went windsurfing on a world-class wave with a bunch of my mates. The environment was raw, real and rich with inspiration, just like I hope the final videos to be 🙂

For years, I treated my annual Australian windsurfing trip as protected ‘holiday time’. No work. While there, I’d have all these creative, work-related ideas bubbling up and I’d try to ignore them. Then I’d come back to busy work and family life and try, in vain, to recapture the ideas. Now I look back and think “well, that was a wasted opportunity!” 

This year, I treated the trip as ‘generative time’, and went with an intention to let my ideas come fully to the surface. Interestingly, the fact that I did some work in the middle of my holiday was really fun and engaging.

I wonder why so often we compartmentalise our lives into separate boxes? For example, professional life, holidays, learning, parenting, exercise, each having a designated time in the calendar. Does compartmentalising allow us to more fully develop our competence in each area? Is it that we fear that we can’t effectively be our best self in any given arena if we’re blurring the boundaries? Do we use one compartment as a refuge from too much intensity in another? For example, using exercise as restorative time to help you recover from a really intense work day, knowing tomorrow you’ll be diving back into that work environment all over again.

Compartmentalising might be an effective strategy when we’re facing a new level of intensity. And I wonder: do we hold too long onto the belief that it’s always going to be useful?

I suspect there’s a point at which continuing to compartmentalise hinders more than it helps. I’m noticing in my own life that allowing the lines to blur actually enhances all areas. It also lowers my stress because I don’t need to manage the boundaries so tightly. I’m more in flow, and less in time management.

How much do you compartmentalise your own life? How well is it serving you? What might the upside be if you blurred the lines a little?


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