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Mastering a Moment of Purposeful Peace

Mastering a Moment of Purposeful Peace
    Untitiled by OtherThink on flickr

    Our minds are always preoccupied with inconsequential thoughts and pending tasks. We create a facade of constant motion to fool ourselves and others that we have a purpose in life.

    Instead, it is actually a purgatory of limitless wanting, made up of over shopping, eating, traveling and working. All of it used to alleviate the guilt of being aimless.

    There is no time to think, just forward momentum and a false hope that things will improve on their own. Ultimately, it results in a jarring collision with reality, and questions like, “Am I happy?” and “Am I satisfied with my life?” arise in our mind.

    We realize that we are living an unfulfilling existence. Forcing us to find meaning, relief from medication, alcohol or from someone who appears to have the answers.

    However, there are alternatives that allow you to create your own destiny and answer your own questions. Give yourself a moment of purposeful peace, where you can appraise your life and  true feelings without distraction or outside influences.

    Finding satisfaction

    Without meaningful goals to focus our attention and define our actions, we only experience small glimpses of happiness and satisfaction.

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    Actual satisfaction is achieved when we are aligned with our true purpose. It is not a fleeting sense, but something that energizes our motives. It goes beyond the contentment of a full stomach, warm clothes and a comfortable home.

    Without self-reflection, we have no way to measure our true needs. Instead, we measure fulfillment through intimacy and the accumulation of material goods. It is a faulty process that leads to dissatisfaction and forces us to replace our current relationships and goods with new people and objects.

    Easing into a moment of purposeful peace

    You need to walk before you can run.

    Remove your expectations and embrace the idea of silence, peace and contemplation.

    It is about conditioning your mind to clear out the inefficient thoughts that race through your consciousness. And, over time you will focus on meaningful and useful thoughts.

    Allow your mind to wander and your unconscious thoughts to bubble up to the surface. Be aware of your true feelings and take an honest inventory of your life to see what you want to change and how you are going to find meaning in your actions.

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    Isolation

    The key to self reflection, is finding a place and time that is free from distraction. A place of mental and physical isolation, that allows you to think and consider without outside forces influencing or contaminating the process.

    The Power of the Pre-dawn Hours

    The early hours of the morning (between 2 to 5 a.m.) has a certain power when it comes to contemplation. If we are concerned about something or have a hard time reconciling a situation, we spend a sleepless night thinking about it.

    We cannot analyze these problems properly during the day because so many distractions block our ability to think clearly.

    Also, the lack of sleep intoxicates the mind, making it more open to exploration.

    What is next?

    Close your eyes and allow the unconscious mind to express itself, and thoughts will emerge.

    Usually, the most confusing and doubt ridden thoughts are the thoughts you will want to embrace and dissect.

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    Take notes of these thoughts. This is not a journal, so write them down in point form and sum them up into single ideas, items or actions.

    Techniques to focus your attention

    Write down categories like home, family and work or use goals like renovations and vacations to guide your thought process and focus your attention.

    If nothing else, writing down some key goals on paper is a victory. Even simple goals are enough to guide your mind and focus your conscious and unconscious attention during your day and serves as a record of your intentions for subsequent sessions.

    Even after just a few sessions you will notice a change in your perception of time and your actions. You will give more consideration how you divide your time and effort throughout the day. Slowly aligning your actions and thoughts towards your goals.

    What to do with the information you write down

    Depending on your state of mind, and the urgency of the situation, you can do two things. Leave the information and access it at some future time or prime your mind with a few basic questions.

    Such as:

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    • How important is this to me?

    • Does it conflict with other goals?

    • What resources do I need?

    • When does it need to be achieved?

    In the future when you return to the list, you will find that you have already taken mental notes on the resources and tactics needed to develop a plan of action.

    These sessions and plans you develop should remain private until you are comfortable in sharing them. Otherwise, your commitment to change and motivation can be diminished by other people’s input.

    No matter what you do with the information you access, giving yourself the few hours of silence, isolation and contemplation will go a long way towards reducing anxiety and helping you focus on what is important to you.

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

    Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

    One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

    When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

    So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

    Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

    This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

    Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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    When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

    Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

    One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

    Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

    An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

    When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

    Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

    Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

    We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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    By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

    Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

    While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

    I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

    You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

    Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

    When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

    Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

    Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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    Con #2: Less Human Interaction

    One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

    Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

    Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

    This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

    While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

    Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

    Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

    This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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    For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

    Con #4: Unique Distractions

    Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

    For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

    To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

    Final Thoughts

    Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

    We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

    More About Working From Home

    Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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