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Snap Back to Reality

Snap Back to Reality
Rubber Bands

    We are constantly moving forward – onward to new horizons. It seems to be the way humans are wired. Always looking towards the future.

    Often we spend so much time staring at what’s coming next, that we miss what’s happening right in front of our face. Sometimes it takes a big or tragic event to bring us back. Other times it’s the pressure we feel at a given moment. Whatever the reason, it happens. Learning to snap back to reality on our own terms is a valuable skill to explore.

    Snap Back To Reality, Oh There Goes Gravity….

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    …You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow

    This opportunity comes once in a lifetime…
    ” – Eminem, Lose Yourself

    Sage advice from Eminem. Who would’ve thought? But he makes a good point. All we’ve got is right now, this moment. This particular opportunity only comes once. Whether we choose to believe it or not.

    Think of our awareness like a rubber band – flexible, continually expanding. We stretch our view, our focus, and our perception. This is a wonderful ability to have – to not only see what is, but also what can be. But just like a rubber band, there is only so far it can stretch – and how long we can hold it – then snap!

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    If we don’t take the time to snap back to reality on our own terms, it will happen unexpectedly. Stress, life changing events, and pain are often triggers of the snap. Say you’re driving along, daydreaming about an upcoming meeting, when suddenly you ram into a stopped car – snap! – you’re back to reality. When you witness the birth of your baby, you snap back. When you slam your finger in the door, you snap back. All of these things take the stretched band of your perception and snap it back to its original state, leaving it loose and exhausted.

    If a rubber band stays stretched too long, when it does snap back, it begins to lose its elasticity. The same happens with us. By constantly living in a future, imagined time we begin to reach the point of breaking, and lose the potential to stretch effortlessly each time. The key is learning to take this “snap back” into your own hands and regularly return to reality – the true reality of what happening right now.

    Wow…Trippy…

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    This may all sound like kooky, New Agey stuff. Actually it’s more like Old Agey stuff. But it’s really just a mindset. Being focused on the future is important, but so is snapping back to right now.

    There are lots of ways to do this. One of the most common is to focus on your breathing. Really notice the breath come in and flow out. Or take a few minutes to just listen to the sounds around you. It’s not important how you do it, just that you take some time throughout the day to snap back on your own terms – no crashes, no pain, no stress. Just the act of wanting to, makes it happen. It doesn’t require any big rituals, or beliefs. Just ask “what’s happening right now?” Then listen. You’ll get it. You’ll snap back.

    And it’s a good thing, because you only get one shot, this moment only comes once in a lifetime.

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    Tony D. Clark writes, draws cartoons, designs software and websites, and spends a lot of time talking others into working from home, being creative, and doing what they love. His blog Success from the Nest focuses on helping parents who want to do meaningful work from home and have more time for their families, and their dreams.

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    Leon Ho

    Founder of Lifehack

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

    What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

    Ah, Inbox Zero. An achievement that so many of us long for. It’s elusive. It’s a productivity benchmark. It’s an ongoing battle.

    It’s also unnecessary.

    Don’t get me wrong, the way Inbox Zero was initially termed is incredibly valuable. Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.[1]

    Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.

    But it’s not about that. Not at all.

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    Here’s what inbox zero actually is, as defined by Mann:

    “It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

    The Fake Inbox Zero

    The sense of fulfillment one gets from clearing out everything in your inbox is temporary at best, disappointing at worst. Often we find that we’re shooting for Inbox Zero just so that we can say that we’ve got “everything done that needed to be done”. That’s simply not the case.

    Certainly, by removing all of your things that sit in your inbox means that they are either taken care of or are well on their way to being taken care of. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often applied to clearing out your inbox. But unless you’ve actually done something with the stuff, it’s either not worth having in your inbox in the first place or is still sitting in your “mental inbox”.

    You have to do something with the stuff, and for many people, that is a hard thing to do. That’s why Inbox Zero – as defined by Mann – is not achieved as often as many people would like to believe. It’s this “watered down” concept of Inbox Zero that is completed instead. You’ve got no email in your inbox and you’ve got no paper on your desk’s inbox. So that must mean you’re at Inbox Zero.

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    Until the next email arrives or the next document comes your way. Then you work to get rid of those as quickly as possible so that you can get back to Inbox Zero: The Lesser again. If it’s something that can be dealt with quickly, then you get there. But if they require more time, then soon you’ve got more stuff in your inboxes. So you switch up tasks to get to the things that don’t require as much time or attention so that you can get closer to this stripped down variation of Inbox Zero.

    However, until you deal with the bigger items, you don’t quite get there. Some people feel as if they’ve let themselves (or others) down if they don’t get there. And that, quite frankly, is silly. That’s why this particular version of Inbox Zero doesn’t work.

    The Ultimate Way to Get to Inbox Zero

    So what’s the ultimate way to get to Inbox Zero?

    Have zero inboxes.

    The inbox is meant to be a stop along the way to your final destination. It’s the place where stuff sits until you’re ready to put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it.

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    So why not skip the inbox altogether? Why not put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it? Because that requires immediate action. It means you need to give the item some thought and attention.

    You need to step back and look at it rather than file it. That’s why we have a catch-all inbox, both for email and for analog items. It allows us to only look at these things when we’re ready to do so.

    The funny thing is that we can decide when we’re ready to without actually looking at the inbox beforehand. We can look at things on our own watch rather than when we are alerted to or feel the need to.

    There is no reason why you need an inbox at all to store things for longer than it sits there before you see it. None. It’s a choice. And the choice you should be making is how to deal with things when you first see them, rather than when to deal with things you haven’t looked at yet.

    Stop Faking It

    Seeing things in your inboxes is simply using your sight. Looking at things in your inbox when you first see them is using insight.

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    Stop checking email more than twice per day. Turn off your alerts. Put your desk’s inbox somewhere that it can be accessed by others and only accessed by you when you’re ready to deal with what’s in it. Don’t put it on your desk – that’s productivity poison.

    If you want to get to Inbox Zero — the real Inbox Zero — then get rid of those stops along the way. You’ll find that by doing that, you’ll be getting more of the stuff you really want done finished much faster, rather than see them moving along at the speed of not much more than zero.

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    Featured photo credit: Web Hosting via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Merlin Mann: Inbox Zero

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