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Tiny Life Hack: A White Square

Tiny Life Hack: A White Square

While visiting friends in Maine this weekend, I stumbled upon what might prove to be a useful morning hack for you. They’d taken down their bathroom mirror (presumably to replace it), and in its place was a big white rectangle with nothing on it. The first few times, I was disoriented, because I counted on the mirror to give me a quick glance at myself. By the third time, I’d found what makes for a nice focusing hack.

Stare at a square of white wall

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This might be equivalent to what Zen wants you to do. I don’t know. I failed Zen, and the other Buddhist methods didn’t click well for me yet, either. But here’s what I did:

I just stood straight and tall, breathed slowly, and looked at the white square. At first, everything was a jumble, like spinning a radio dial and listening to just snips of conversation. But, when I worked at it just a little, I found that I could either break off certain “voices,” and that I could choose to “tune in” certain threads a little better.

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What focused me most was asking myself a single question: “What matters?”

This gave me a great frame upon which to hang the goings on of the day, my emotions, and the state of things. Sure, things were hectic. Sure, I hadn’t had much sleep the night before. Sure, I knew that my projects were piling up in my absense, but when I asked myself what mattered, it was this: connect with our hosts, and really enjoy my family.

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And that’s what I did.

Break it Down

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  • Stand up very straight, with your shoulders relaxed, before a square of white attached to a wall and look at it. (try posterboard from the local drugstore).
  • Take a few deep breaths, slowly. Take a few more.
  • Silence the “chatter.” Think of the white wall as much as you can.
  • Ask yourself: “What matters?” (This is not the same as “What needs to get done?”)
  • Listen to the response. Question it again.
  • Ask again: “What matters?”
  • Accept this answer and stare a while more. Just try to focus on the answer.
  • Leave this space with that idea firmly in your head.

I’m not one for meditating, but this worked well for me over the weekend, and now I’m going to implement it at home.

What are YOUR thoughts on the matter? How do you get to the above state? Where’s your success?

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Last Updated on October 9, 2018

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

Most of you made personal, one sentence resolutions like “I want to lose weight” or “I vow to go back to school.” It is a tradition to start the New Year with things you want to achieve, but under the influence resolutions are often unrealistic.

If you’re wondering when will be a good time to write a mission statement, NOW is the time to take a personal inventory to make this year your most productive year ever. You may be asking yourself, “How am I going to do that?” You, my friends, are going to write personal mission statements.

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A large number of corporations use mission statements to define the purpose of the company’s existence. Sony wants to “become the company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products” and 3M wants “to solve unsolved problems innovatively”. A personal mission statement is different than a corporate mission statement, but the fundamentals are the same.

So why do you need one? A personal statement will help you identify your core values and beliefs in one fluid tapestry of content that you can read anytime and anywhere to stay on task toward success.

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For example, Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire came to the realization that he had lost track of what was important to him. After writing a personal mission statement, we saw him start his own business and he got the girl, Renee Zelleweger. Not bad, wouldn’t you say? A personal mission statement will make sure that, through all the texting, emailing and constant bombardment of on-the-go activity, you won’t lose sight of what is most important to you.

Mission statements can be simple and concise while others are longer and filled with detail. The length of your personal mission statement will not be determined until you follow this simple equation to create your motivational springboard for 2008.

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To begin your internal cleansing, you will need to jot down the required information in the following five steps:

  1. What are your values? Values steer your actions and determine where you spend time, energy, and most importantly, money. Be specific and unique to yourself. Too much generalization will not be as effective. It is called a “personal” mission statement for a reason.
  2. What are three important goals you hope to achieve this year? Keep your list of important goals small and give them a date. It is better to focus on the horizon and not the stars. Realistic goals are keys to ultimate success.
  3. What image do you hope to project to yourself? How you see yourself is how the world will view you. Think about this carefully. Your image should encompass what you look like and feel after you have achieved your goals.
  4. Write down action statements from each value describing how you will use those values to achieve your three goals. Start with “I will…”
  5. Rewrite your statement to include only your action statements. Make portable copies for your wallet, car or office.

If you followed the steps above, congratulations! You have just written your first personal mission statement. Your personal statement will change over the years as your goals change. You can have more than one statement for the different compartments of your life such as your career, family, marriage, etc.

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Writing a personal mission statement is an effective method to ensure your productivity is at its peak. It is an ideal tradition to start so that when next year rolls around, the outdated practice of resolutions will be something you permanently left in the past.

Featured photo credit: Álvaro Serrano via unsplash.com

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