This new year, I have made a resolution (albeit about a month after the January 1st cutoff for such self-imposed rules for change) to meditate more, be more present, and generally strip back the unnecessary.
Less, it turns out, really is more.
The reason to meditate was simple : much like journaling, which I wrote about on an old blog, meditating helps to start my day off on the right track. It was suggested by a friend that I use the Headspace app. I kind of scoffed at the idea, but gave it a trial as it was aurally guided by a British gent by the name of Andy Puddicombe, and being someone who digs the use of good sound, I was impressed by both Andy’s voice tone and narrative style. Also, the app setup is really intuitive on either the web platform or iPhone/iPad. After only 18 sessions (10 minutes each so far) of giving this a serious go I find that it really is serving as an impetus for any nagging feelings to come to the surface. It is relieving agitation. The breath control that you will gain within the confines of the app can help to extend throughout your day, so that faced with challenges or stressors, you can slow down and take stock, and react appropriately. This is honestly pretty helpful for a “type-A” personality (guilty!) to be able to realize that sometimes we need to draw our attention inward, to our breath, which is at the epicenter of this guided meditation.
Meditating also lends itself to a creative output.
Shameless self promotion : the idea to write ‘Using Things with GTD’ came to me after meditation.
I am in the shower about a month ago, washing my hair. Then it hits me. I have a song coming in from wherever the heck songs come from, and it has a 6/8 time signature, and it is definitely in B-flat minor (I am a lifelong musician). I scrub my head quickly with the shampoo.
Uh oh. A key change just happened. Now we have gotten up to D-flat minor to further convey the dark awkwardness of this little ditty that is writing itself in the musical hub of my brain. Now I am cursing my conditioner for both its amazing benefits that I don’t want to miss out on, and the length to time that it takes to have it unleash said benefits as I stand there humming the bass part of the tune repeatedly so that I don’t forget it.
Finally I am rinsed and dry, and running toward my home office to grab my bass to verify the accuracy of my internal hearing. Yup. It’s playing as I thought it was. I record on the iPhone the most rushed of bass parts to repeat what was in my head. There. I got it out. (Sigh), the idea is not gone forever! Nice.
I share this not to have you imagine that I often hum loud bass parts on repeat in some tribal-style manner in the shower, but rather to illustrate that it’s ok to use those odd jobs around the home like washing your car, cleaning the garage or organizing your closet as an opportunity to get into your head a bit and really get creative. Your subconscious will throw some pretty great stuff at you when you are in a relaxed state and I have found that mediation can be the kickstart to it all. That is why I tend to meditate at the start of the day right after I wake up, before my wife and dogs are up.
Be an expert at a few things
This is my biggest challenge of a goal for the year. I find that I want to do way too much, all the time : start a podcast, run a successful voiceover business, write a blog, write a technical guide, run a finance business, be a good husband and doggie-dad, etc.
It can be a bit much, and the fear that you are constantly failing at juggling too many balls in the air is detrimental to real productivity. I am going to take the top two or three things that I want to do and really focus on them, because no matter how well I manage a task list or calendar, too much is simply too much for 24 hours per day.
Here’s to a sparse and productive remaining 11 months of the year!