Failed tweak – Morning meditation

I usually meditate at either middle or end of the day – when the head is usually frazzled or distracted, and needs a dose of calm and care.

Since everyone talks and writes about it, today I decided to meditate in the morning. At about 6 AM, after finishing coffee and before starting work, I took 15-20 minutes to meditate with Calm.

The meditation itself was good, and I may have maintained the focus better. But due to the timing, it wasn’t as useful as usual. I was already calm and focused before the meditation (early morning is my favourite, and most productive work time). So the marginal benefit provided by the meditation was small.

Later when I felt the need for meditation in late afternoon, I hesitated – ‘because I had already done the session for the day’. It was a stupid self-argument, but I listened to it and didn’t spend the 15 mins. I have paid for it with a distracted mind and subsequent low productivity all evening.

Looking forward, I could fight that argument (‘already done it today’) in my head with logic. But that’s a system 2 action, and system 2 is lazy so I’ll probably end up failing more often than not.

I could set a fixed afternoon time to create a rule/habit, but that will have a similar constraint – I will end up meditating when its scheduled, and not when I need it.

So, instead I am declaring the morning meditation a failed tweak, and will instead go back to meditating when I want/need during the day.

Tweaks for 2019 – Be frugal

I don’t have money, and I need a lot. So, I need to save money.

I have strict work and personal relations targets this year. They require me to be very focused, and not squander time or attention. I need to be frugal with my time and cognitive capacity this year.

I have set myself a target for running time, and I have an entry in London Marathon to address last year’s failings. Combined with demands for attention on work and relationships, I can’t afford to waste time or energy this year. I need to be frugal with my physical and mental energy, as well as with time.

I weigh too much, having gained 10 kg in the 7 months since the ankle injury. I need to lose weight, eat frugally.

Final tweak for the year: I will try to be frugal this year, with everything. Continue reading Tweaks for 2019 – Be frugal

Tweaks for 2019 – Practice mindfulness

Multi-tasking was considered a desirable quality when I was in college and in my early working years. In hindsight, it was an easy escape too – when things get tough in one area, switch to the other. Smartphones, social media, TV and multi-tab browsers have added to the toll – all together in the cause of making my current easily distracted present self.

Mindfulness, focus, being in the present – all define an ability to stop becoming a multi-tasker. To get back to being fully focused on just the present act – whether its working, playing with the boy, reading, or even watching TV (‘watch the TV, put down the phone’).

The reason for why the previous two changes (1, 2) are hard is mindfulness (lack of) as well. Remembering to slow down – while talking or eating – both require active focus. It would be hard to focus on slowing down when I am too distracted to even fully notice the act of talking or eating (e.g. watching a TV show while eating, or thinking of ‘what are they thinking’ while talking).

Eventually, I hope to turn them both into habits so that I speak and eat slowly even unconsciously. But till I get there, I will need to be focused in the present – be mindful of the act to be able to slow myself down.

Finally, mindfulness may help me get better at not just the tasks that I enjoy (spreadsheets, coding, running), but also the tasks that I don’t (reaching out to people, writing better copy, socialising). Continue reading Tweaks for 2019 – Practice mindfulness