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How to Win the War Against Peace of Mind

How to Win the War Against Peace of Mind
    Photo credit: erasmusa (CC BY-NC 2.0)

    In some parts of the world, today is a day set aside to remember those who have fought for the freedom that their citizens enjoy. It is a day where these nations reflect on those who have died for a cause and those who fight for it even to this day so that peace can prevail over war.

    But there will be so much “noise” coming at us today – a day where we seek quiet so that we can properly remember what this day represents. Our minds will have a difficult time finding peace because of the firehose of information that enters our home and office each and every day. It may seem harsh, but it is as if we are battling our own ongoing war against the things that threaten our peace of mind – a peace that we so desperately need in order to truly enjoy our lives.

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    While it’s important for us to stay informed, it is also important for us to let our minds rest – even wander – from time to time. I suggest that even those who are figthing the literal wars in our world today (and those of the past) would want those at home to be mindful not just of what is going on outside of their own self, but also to be mindful of themselves internally. Inner peace is just as important as outer peace.

    If you’re constantly fighting a losing battle in the war against your peace of mind, here are some strategies you can use to start fighting back – and winning.

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    Disconnect to Connect

    Turn things off. The television, the Internet, the phone. Remove them from the equation – if only for a little while. Do that every day for a set amount of time. Perhaps you only feel comfortable doing it for 30 minutes a day. Go with that. After you start to adjust, bump it up to a full hour. Then keep raising the stakes until you feel that you’re not losing your mind in a sea of external factors and are able to balance what you’re taking in with what you’re simply letting go.

    You need to free your mind in order to give the space it needs to remember things better. The more clutter you have in your mind, the harder it is for you to find what is worthwhile in there. Disconnecting instantly removes the intake of a lot of psychic clutter, and can serve to actually create a better filtering system when you do reconnect. As a result, you’ll be able to better connect with what really matters and let go of what really doesn’t.

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    Capture the Moments

    Capturing things is one of the keys to creating a more productive “you”, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about capturing moments. That may mean drawing a picture, taking a photo or journaling. What you’re doing is not systematizing the capture process, but you’re fleshing out moments in time on the canvas of your choice. This kind of capturing is more likely to create a peaceful feeling than writing down to-do lists or breaking down a new project.

    When was the last time you sat down somewhere and just transposed the moment in time you were in using a method that felt right to you? Maybe you need to bring a digital recorder into the bathroom and sing in the shower – that could be a release for you. Then you’ll be able to listen to that recording later and just know that it was a moment that you captured where you let yourself go. Having an agenda with no care of what the outcome needs to be can be one of the most freeing things you can experience.

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    Visualizaion and Spiritualization

    See where you want to be. Look forward without looking at all. Let your mind go to where you let it go when your dreams were brand new. That’s visualization. See the change that you want to be in the world so that you can be the change that you want to see in the world.

    Spiritualization doesn’t have to be a religious experience. It can simply be a walk along a beach while you take in the wonders around you. It can be true meditation. It can be yoga or Tai Chi. It can be going to church. Accessing your spiritual self gets easier the more often you do so – as long as it is something that is accessible to you. Don’t go down another’s path; find your own. Don’t be afraid to do that. Those who have fought for freedom certainly weren’t. Honour them by facing the fear and doing it anyway.

    Give Peace a Chance

    The noise is getting louder every day. Quiet and solitude is getting that much harder to find. There’s nothing wrong with either, but there is something wrong with too much of either. Peace of mind and balance are both difficult to achieve and even tougher to maintain.

    Using the above strategies may not see you win every battle, but by using them consistently you give yourself a fighting chance to win the war.

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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