A few weeks ago it snowed here, and then iced over. For a few days the streets and neighborhoods were quiet.
Still… no movement.
I took the dog for a walk in the morning, and the snow dampened all sound and created soft moments… without noise.
Things slowed down inside my frantic head, and the noisiness, the loudness of my thoughts, my checklists of what I had to do – diminished. Amazing what a little quiet will do. This dose of silence was just what the doctor ordered.
And I thought about the busy work lives of leaders today. Even the best conscientious leaders, committed to people, planet, purpose and profit, those infamous 4 Ps, need a little down time of complete silence to re-establish calm and equilibrium.
With so many distractions, it is hard to take the time to quite literally, DO NOTHING, even for just a few moments and enjoy the beauty of silence. I maintain this makes us better managers and problem solvers, and probably a little more creative.
And silence reduces stress and is good for the body. A 2006 study published in the medical journal, “Heart “ found two minutes of silence to be more relaxing than listening to music, based on changes in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.
This theme of silence was highlighted when PBS recently created a wonderful documentary on the quietest place on earth on the island of Maui, Haleakalai I wasn’t in Hawaii, but recently I found my quiet place, on an early snowy morning – when all was still.
With that said, here are three ideas to encourage quiet time in your workplace.
1. Consider creating a quiet room at work. A comfortable place, perhaps with posters of nature, where managers and leaders can take a moment of quiet.
2. Come to work early before others arrive, and before turning on the computer, sit quietly for five minutes, and DO NOTHING.
3. Speak less, listen and observe more.
About the author
Mary Anne Harmer is CEO and Marketing Strategist at HCollaborative.