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Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

  1. Random Thoughts While Meditating #9

    July 21, 2019 by Diane

    Wherever you focus your attention expands that moment in time. Which moment would you rather expand: the present, or some fearful event in the future that may or may not happen at all?


  2. Book Review: The Productivity Project

    July 9, 2017 by Diane

    The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and EnergyThe Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy by Chris Bailey
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    A guy takes a year off from work to experiment with ways to be more productive, but experimenting to the extreme. Like meditating for 35 hours a week. Or taking in no nourishment (because it’s too time-consuming!) other than a powdered drink called Soylent, which sounds like something made from humans, but isn’t. And isolating himself in a basement for 10 days. Is this guy a monk yearning for a cave? No. He’s Chris Bailey, and he’s come up with a whole new way of looking at time management, procrastination, and being more productive which, to my mind, is refreshing.

    For starters: evidently, it’s human nature to procrastinate. Chris looks at this bad habit as, basically, putting something off for your future self to deal with. Personally, I never thought of it that way. And he offers suggestions for connecting to that future self. Like a nifty website called FutureMe.org, where you can send yourself an email that arrives days, weeks, months, or years from today. How cool is that!?

    Time management gets a new spin with Chris, too. He talks about scheduling three things a day, releasing the unimportant, plowing through chores on a “Maintenance Day,” rather than getting sidetracked with them throughout the week, and working on projects in less time to force yourself to focus.

    To be productive, we need to manage more than our time. We need to harness our energy, too. We need to track our most energetic times of the day and schedule important tasks during those times, and unimportant tasks when we’re brain-dead (like at 3:00 in the afternoon). We need to eat, exercise, and sleep well, and Chris covers tips on how to do all three (which doesn’t involve Soylent).

    The third ingredient of productivity, along with managing time and energy, is managing attention. Here, Chris brings up the benefits of a meditation practice, and reassures the reader that meditation doesn’t require sitting in a lotus position for hours. He talks about working slowly and mindfully to work more deliberately, and introduces the twenty-second rule for avoiding distractions. He busts the myth that multi-tasking makes us more efficient, and hails the art of doing one thing at a time.

    This is the best book on productivity I’ve read, and I’ve read many. Not only does the author shine new light on the subject, but through his year-long experiment and the knowledge gained through interviewing productivity experts, he’s put together a program that’s imminently doable. As a bonus? He starts each chapter with an estimated reading time, down to the second. And it was spot-on, for me.


  3. Squirrels in the Doohickey

    March 12, 2017 by Diane

    A subscriber to this blog encouraged her fellow bloggers to repost the first piece they ever posted. (Yeah, you, Sarah Brentyn.) So without further ado, here is my first ever post, from way back in April of 2013. And for those of you who’ve followed this blog since its inception, you deserve a medal. (Yeah, you, auntie Joan.)

    old-fashioned-tv

    It all started with the radio.

    We were doing fine, dwelling in the same living space, enjoying the same music. A little country, a little classical, a whole lot of evening jazz. We were relaxing to Beethoven and cooling off to Chris Botti and singing along with Blake Shelton and then, when I wandered over to the Big Band station, the radio turned itself off. A little Artie Shaw or Benny Goodman….click. Every time.

    The TV got wind of this. The TV decided to do its own brand of censoring.

    When I first hooked up the television I had a smorgasbord of stations. I was hooked. It saw that I was hooked. It knew that I could be spending my time on more productive endeavors, like rewriting my novel. So it started eliminating the stations one by one until I was left with one station.

    One station that aired the original Star Trek series and the old Dick Van Dyke show.

    Night after night I watched Bones and Spock and Kirk “…boldly go where no man has gone before,” and then I watched Dick come home from the office in his suit and tie, tumble over the hassock and get the wind knocked out of him.

    I checked the connections.

    I jiggled the cord.

    I called the people who are dedicated to fixing these problems, and a man wearing a hard hat drove up in a white van.

    He strapped on his tool belt.

    He clanked through the neighbors’ back yard.

    He clattered up the telephone pole.

    Twenty minutes later he was unstrapping his tool belt, flinging it into the back of the van and telling me I’ve got squirrels in the doohickey.

    “They’re building condos up there,” he said. “Sharpening their teeth on the wires. AT and T will want to replace all those wires running to the house. You can spring this on your landlady now,” he said, “or wait.”

    I opted to wait.

    Because I knew, I knew it had nothing to do with the wires; it had to do with the fact that my radio and TV were in cahoots. They were trying to control me.

    Okay…this is dysfunctional thinking. This is the kind of logic Bones might manufacture. Luckily, I had a Spock-like rational self who pointed out that the sensible thing to do was replace the radio and deal with the faulty wiring. Luckier still, I had a wise self, a Zen-like Captain Kirk, who suggested that the radio and TV were doing me a favor. They were telling me to spend less time tuning into them, and more time tuning into myself.

    So I did the mindful thing.

    I turned off the television.

    I pulled out the meditation bench.

    I settled down and straightened up and focused on my breathing and two minutes later I was channel-surfing in my head, my thoughts scampering around like squirrels in a doohickey, and I found myself wondering, what’s next? Will the blender regurgitate my breakfast smoothie? Will the vacuum cleaner suck up my faux fur slippers?

    It could happen.