Virginia Morris admits that she’s terrible at doing nothing and would even do that with intensity.
‘I’m terrible at doing nothing. Even if I tried to do nothing, I would do it with intensity.’
B Project recently sat down with Virginia Morris – founder of Bamboo Difference, Hong Kong University Associate Professor, an accomplished leadership strategist, executive coach and facilitator working with executives and senior leadership teams globally. In this B moment, we dive into how Virginia takes time out for herself, what that looks like and how taking time out isn’t something she schedules into her day, it IS her day.
How do you take time out for yourself? What is your ‘B Moment’?
I’m a coffee lover but also very activated by scent – my family actually think I was a dog in a past life because I love to sniff everything. One of my daily rituals happens mid morning when it’s time for a coffee break. I go over to my Nespresso machine and mindfully make my coffee. Just as the coffee starts to pour into the cup, I literally bend down to the cup, close my eyes and mindfully savour the moment as I am intoxicated by the smell of fresh coffee.
Do you regularly schedule time for yourself?
Absolutely! My day is full of what I call, ‘mindful mini breaks’ where I actualise the ‘Power of Pause’. At various intervals throughout the day, I purposely press the pause button. These mini breaks are not for a long time but they really help me to refocus my energy/brain power. I view my day like interval training. I work for an intense block – 90 minutes really works for me – and then I take a break. The mini breaks are what help to make me productive and focused.
Do you find it hard to take time out for yourself? Why?
Not at all. I have created micro habits that I can do easily. By adopting a ‘hacking mentality’, I look at the science of what works and bring this to life through various hacks that I integrate into my daily habits. That way, it isn’t about ‘finding time’ in my day, it just IS my day. By really integrating it into my daily life, I find it removes excuses.
And…when my routine/day is thrown off track such as while in quarantine on returning back to Australia for Christmas or if I have a full on week running from client to client, I feel it. Without my micro habits, I find it harder to sleep and harder to turn off. Even after 21 years of mindfulness training, my monkey mind is still present and my daily small micro habits help to keep it at bay.
Are you good at doing nothing?
No. I’m terrible at doing nothing. Even if I tried to do nothing, I would do it with intensity. Even after practicing yoga and mindfulness for 21 years, I find shutting off my mind is hard.
What do you wish you had more time for?
Reflection. I think this is where the magic lies. I really believe that when you create a synaptic pause between the act of ‘doing’, it really enables the insights to come through. Insights are the ‘being’ and from insights come ideas and informed decision making – without these moments, we are on autopilot. Too often, we only give ourselves this time to reflect when we are on a holiday or just before the New Year hits but daily reflection can be powerful. There are so many insights to be gained by pausing and being a ‘be-er’. While in quarantine in Australia, I rearranged the furniture in the hotel room to set up my own ‘chillax zone’ incorporating a chair overlooking the city that beckons me daily to come, sit and think. Over this two week period where so much was out of my control, I purposefully created this dedicated space for reflection and for just ‘being’. To stare out the window. To have a mindful mini-break. To literally and figuratively change my perspective.