If you’ve ever felt burdened by an uncompleted project, one that you know deep down you’ll never get around to, Arianna Huffington has some welcome advice.
"Did you know that you can complete a project by dropping it?" Huffington told a women's business audience in Toronto on Wednesday. She said that in her case, dropping projects -- learning to ski and to speak German, for example – led to feelings of relief, not a sense of failure. And by dropping them, she was free to pursue the things she truly cared about.
"Any project that you’ve started in your mind drains energy," Huffington said. "One of my favourite sayings is '100 per cent is a breeze, 99 per cent is a bitch.'
"That doesn’t mean ignoring my other needs, but it means when I’m in it, I’m really in it. And that means often saying no to good things, to things that you might want to do, but get in the way of sleep, or get in the way of being with your children, or whatever it is that’s also very important to you."
So those Rosetta Stone lessons you've already paid for? Bring a dictionary next time you're in Paris. Can't seem to get through the first half of Anna Karenina for the fourth time? Go see the movie. You'll be happier.
"Just have a conversation with yourself and say these projects are done, over, and then you have energy for the things you’re really going to commit yourself to," Huffington said.
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The editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post was in town to discuss her new initiative, The Third Metric, which aims to redefine success beyond the first two metrics of money and power to include well-being, wisdom, our ability to wonder and to give back.
Huffington said she personally uses mindfulness and meditation to help achieve those goals.
"Silence is an amazing way to recharge ourselves," she said.
Making time to incorporate this third measure of success can not only change your life, but transform the workplace, Huffington said, by helping people become more creative, productive and connected.
"Olympic athletes get naps. When performance really matters, taking care of yourself is key," she said.
In a speech to more than 800 women at the Women Of Influence luncheon that included Twitter Canada CEO Kirstine Stewart, Huffington stressed that the "hurry-up culture" is not working, and that the whole concept of multitasking is a myth.
Multitasking is part of the modern-day "burnout and a culture enraptured with technology," according to Huffington, and it's also taking a huge toll on Canadian and U.S. businesses, to the tune of billions of dollars a year due to stress, absenteeism and health care costs.
"One of the main problems we are having in addition is that we are all so hyper-connected with technology that it’s harder for us to disconnect," Huffington said, noting the widespread addiction to social media.
She admits having four Blackberry smartphones, but they're banned from her bedroom, which is her sleep sanctuary.
On Tuesday night, Huffington and Indigo Books & Music CEO Heather Reisman were honoured by the Women's Brain Health Initiative for their work to raise funds and awareness for brain ailments that disproportionately affect women.