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Category: Life (page 1 of 15)

An Hour To Read

“An hour spent reading is one stolen from paradise.”
― Thomas Wharton

Beyond the obvious statement, the above quote provides, there is also a second line that should be added. “An hour spent reading makes the day more productive”

As part of reducing stress (much of it self-induced), I’ve been reading up on how productivity and mindfulness can work together to help the individual get to a better place.

One of the things I’ve started to do is to block out time to read. This means unplugging from the world for ideally an hour. Being able to read without interruption not only makes for greater understanding of the material being read, but I have also found makes more productive when I jump back into the rest of the day.

And things I read are not limited to fiction or nonfiction. I will include things like agendas and background materials for board meetings to longer articles I have found online I want to read in-depth. In short, anything that would benefit from having greater focus from not being distracted.

Much like getting in the zone to write requires an environment with as few distractions as possible, “deep” reading requires the same. I can read or write with certain background music, but my favorite background sounds are found outside with the wind rustling among the trees. Everyone will be different on what background sounds work for them.

The most important thing is to remove other sources of distraction, be it email, social media or any other thing that prevents you from getting into “your space” to read or write.

The next challenging will be carving out an hour to read undisturbed. The weekends and holidays I find it very easy to get up, have breakfast and then spend an hour reading before getting on with the day. Weekdays with work requirements have proven to be more of a challenge. At present, I sometimes spend between 30-45 min after dinner reading when I can.

Many productivity experts talk about waking up an hour earlier and doing some of these habits at the start of the day. It’s something I’d like to try in future but at the present time I know my limitations (and how much I like a good nights sleep)

Like any productivity or lifestyle tip, your mileage may very. You may find a different time spent may be more beneficial for you. In the end, it is worth a try to see if can produce a positive result.

50 Years

50 Years

Where does the time go?

This is my first thought upon realizing my 50th birthday was approaching. In many ways it seemed just yesterday I was celebrating my 40th birthday. Many things have changed since then, some good, some not so good.

To say the previous decade has been a challenge would be an understatement. There have been far too many stressful days (weeks months…) at the same time there have been some good things as well.

One thing that has always happened through the good times and the bad are the support of friends and family. This support has taken many forms from actually helping us through things live moving houses to simply saying “I understand” It has all been helpfully and gratefully received.

The last decade has seen a big change in my professional career. The beginning of the decade saw me in a role I had been in for quite a while and which I was content with. Then with my employer at the time being purchased resulted in going back into the very challenging job market. 6 different positions later I find myself back in the corporate world with the much-needed health care benefits for my family situation.

The previous roles all taught me or confirmed beliefs I had and I am thankful for those opportunities. I hope that I contributed as well to make each organization better as well.

As I look back upon the previous 10 years, I have to look beyond myself but to my community and the world as a whole. Again, a mix of good and not so good but looking back through history we have seen that similar events occur over and over again. The one tragic thing is that we don’t seem to learn from those lessons of history.

Despite that I see good things happening. In the last decade, social media has come into it own for connecting people with ideas (for better or worse). Like any new thing, there are good and bad points. My personal experience has mostly shown good things. I’ve met a bunch of amazing people and had to the opportunity to work for and with some amazing organizations.

One think that has been re-enforced is my belief that people are basically good. In the end, the majority of people want what is good for them, their family and the community as a whole. We should never let those who don’t subscribe to that thinking derail our own beliefs. That does not mean we should ignore them. Looking at all sides of an issue is always a good idea. I still believe there is no such thing as just 2 sides of an issue.

As for the future, I’m looking forward to some projects ahead. You will be hearing/seeing from me more on the broadcast front as well as continuing my work with the London Public Library board. Let’s see what the next 10 years bring.

Thank you and be well.

Slow TV

 

Image courtesy BBC

Quite often when writing or working on another task at my desk I like to have something playing in the background. Sometimes it’s music but other times I’ll take to watching things on Youtube. There is a new thing happening in the last few years that originated from Norway. It’s called slow TV.

Slow TV basically is just an unedited event that can span several hours without any interruption and usually (but not always) no dialog. A good example of that would be the log fire burning in a fireplace broadcast that some TV stations put on over Christmas day.

The concept is actually started years ago with things such as driver views from trains and subways in Europe designed to appeal to rail enthusiasts. It has now moved on to a much larger audience.

Some recent examples from Norway include ferry and train journeys. Just like white noise, they can help to focus or just as a way to relax.

Recently I’ve discovered a variation of slow tv from the BBC. James May of Top Gear fame has made a show now in its second season called “The Reassembler”. In it, May takes an ordinary household object and reassembles it while giving some interesting stories about the object.

The components are completely disabled and laid out every so neatly on a white worktable. (OCD people will want to pause and just stare at the pieces perfectly laid out with military precision and spacing.) He then takes several pieces at a time to his workbench and begins to assemble them. Items have included a lawnmower, an old stand mixer, and a phone set.

As a tinkerer, there is something fascinating about watching these objects go back together but also the commentary that goes along with it is strangely relaxing as well. I find I have watched these and then I watch them again while doing other tasks.

In this highly stressful world with many distractions and things that get one’s blood pressure up, it is nice to find something that can relax you.

All of these programs can be found on services such as Netflix and Youtube.

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