Mindfulness: 10 days in

In my quest the last few months to install some better habits in my life, one of the ones I’ve taken on recently is Mindfulness.

Now hold onto your pitchforks, I’m a pretty skeptical guy. So you won’t be finding me burning incense or chanting “ooom” every few seconds. I’m also not converting to any kind of religion anytime soon. What I am doing is looking into carving better neural pathways for productive and effective habits in my daily life.

Now I’m not a doctor, nor a scientist, in fact I barely passed high school, so I’m going off a handful of YouTube videos and internet articles here.

Ever drive a car to work and get there realizing you barely remember most of your trip? That’s because we’ve driven so much that we don’t really have to think about it anymore. The pathways in our brains are carved by doing things over and over. Like riding a bike, signing your name, driving a car.

One of the things I’ve been doing the last few months is using Brain.fm to fill my head with “focus” music while I write. It’s actually worked wonders, and I can personally attest to the effectivity of Brain.fm. Putting on headphones and firing up the music has been so effective the last few months for me that I already have a hard time writing without it. I’m carving out these pathways through daily habits that after work time is “when I write” and I write best when I have “focus” music in my ears. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t actually like writing in the mornings on the weekends, I prefer to work in the mid-afternoon, just like on the weekdays.

But writing itself isn’t the hard part, my difficulty is always in sitting down, and writing those first 100 words. Once I write 100, I can write a 1000. So I’ve been using mindfulness/meditation to focus my mind for 10 minutes before I start my writing.

I’m 10 days into it and I’m glad I started. While it’s not quite as effective as the Brain.fm has been for my writing, it does help significantly with one thing: separation from work.

I work in IT, day job, easily 9 hours a day, sometimes 10. It’s stressful, I rarely take lunch breaks, plus I work from home, so I pretty much work non-stop from the time I wake up till the day is done.

Then I need to somehow turn from my work desk (it’s a standing desk) to my writing desk about five feet away. I keep work and personal physically separate in my office. Only I need a way to separate mentally separate the two. So I’ve taken to getting a drink of water, and meditating for 10 minutes.

I’ve been using the Headspace app, which is free for the first 10 days. So far, it’s worked well in separating out the stresses of my day job and allowing me to clear my head prior to writing for an hour each afternoon. I highly recommend it, and I’ll be sure to report back in later once I’ve been doing this for longer.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

CSI: Miami

Been wanting a mindless show to watch recently, so I was browsing through Netflix and found CSI:Miami. I know it’s trite, and super old, and there are probably better shows out there right now, but it’s a show I can put on and not really pay much attention to.

What shows do that for you? Something you can turn on while you’re checking email, and possibly browsing the web, only half paying attention to?

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Back Into the Swing

Took my kids up north for camp this last weekend, which means it’s my wife and I alone in the house. It’s nice but it’s also an odd feeling when they disappear for a whole week.

It’s so disconcerting that it throws me off my normal schedule. Sunday night I didn’t get to bed on time because I’m so used to the family going through the standard evening ritual of “okay kids, head to bed” that I got to bed late.

It’s odd how little things like that can throw off your schedule if you’re not paying attention to it. I’m sure that we’ll slowly adjust to being empty nesters as the kids head off to college and work on establishing themselves out in the real world, but when they all up and disappear overnight it’s a little jarring.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

I’m Beta Reading for a Friend, I Swear

So I finished up a beta read for a friend today. Not a fully book, he actually broke the beta read into half which I thought was pretty smart.

I can’t wait to tell you about this book. It’s amazing! Take all the awesomeness of 80’s alien movies and set it Arizona? Hell yeah!

This has action movie written all over it, and I can’t wait to hear the Honest Trailers about it.

So yeah. I love reading things, specially books from people I know and respect. High tension, high stakes, and an amazing cast of characters.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Pitiful Kong

So I watched “Kong” the new one with Huddleston and Jackson.

Sadly, it wasn’t very good. Nearly everyone in the movie was a stereotypical caricature.

The CGI was good, but the plot was paper thin. War bad, saving precious creatures on God’s green earth is good.

Plus hollow earth theory…really Hollywood?

I don’t want to spoil it to badly, but seriously, it’s about as bad as the Godzilla featuring Matthew Broderick. Ugh

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Dead Apple Watch

Well, the fun continues here with yet another hardware failure. I think this is the third in three weeks? First my Drobo, then my MacBook Air, now, it’s my Apple Watch.

Note the color, the fact that you can see only the left 2/3 of the screen, and the white dot along the top edge at the top of the part that doesn’t display.

As you can see, my watch done broke. So here’s the story. I was out getting exercise this morning before work, alternating walking and jogging because well, I’m a fat slob who can’t jog for 30 minutes straight.

I had my iPhone in my pocket and watch on left hand, and the only thing I can figure is that while jogging and not paying attention, I swung my watch into my iPhone corner.

I actually ram my hand into my phone fairly often. Almost every time I go out. Like most of men’s shorts, they’re pretty baggy, and my phone jostles around in them a lot.

Anyway, there is no fixing that. It’s a replacement cost, which I could have gotten for a price, but I decided to just upgrade to a new Series 2 Watch.

So now I have a better watch, I guess. I really didn’t want to buy one though. I was hoping to snag a Series three watch when they came out in hopes they had sleep tracking.

Oh well, we’ll see how things go in the future. The good news here is that I won’t need to take my phone with me on jogs anymore as long as I load up my watch with stuff to listen to.

I just wish it did better about pre-loading podcasts and audible books rather than just workout music. Honestly, who wastes valuable exercize time on music rather than learning something?

Till tomorrow,

Tom