Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Mindfully Shifting Your Approach to a Task Can Shift Everything

By Leo Babauta

There’s a subtle, mindful shift that we can make as we tackle any task, enter any project, start any conversation, move into any activity … and this small shift can make a huge difference.

The shift is a softening, a warming, an opening. And that might not sound very powerful, but it is.

Let’s say you’re about to start a difficult task, and there’s something about it that’s causing you to dislike the task and want to put it off. The task is difficult, overwhelming, full of uncertainty for you. So you either run to distraction and procrastinate, or you do it but really don’t enjoy doing it. Neither of these is helpful.

So what can we do instead of procrastinating or disliking the task? We can bring some subtle, mindful, powerful shifts to the task. And in fact, we can do this to any activity.

Try it out with one of the hardest tasks in your todo list or email inbox, something you’ve been putting off or dreading. Get ready to do the task, then try these practices:

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How to Have More Focused Hours in Your Day

By Leo Babauta

I was talking to someone today and he said that with all the time he spends putzing around on the internet, he gets maybe 2 hours of focused time a day. I actually think that’s higher than average!

But if he does incredible work in those 2 hours a day, think of the good he could do if he doubled or even tripled that amount of focused time. His impact on the world would multiply.

It might be interesting to audit your own time, and see how much of it is focused, meaningful work. Is that a good amount for you, or would you like to increase your focused hours and impact on the world?

For me, what success I’ve had in increasing my focused time comes down to three habits:

Asking myself what meaningful, impactful work I can get done today.Creating space for the meaningful work instead of just doing busywork or being distracted all day.Working in fullscreen mode and diving in.

Let’s look at each of these habits.

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The Discipline of Mastering Mental States

By Leo Babauta

I’m far from mastering this skill, but one thing I’ve been playing around with is how important mental states are to our productivity, happiness, focus, health habits and more.

For example, if you’re tired or feeling down, there’s a good chance you’re not going to focus on your meaningful tasks, and instead will look for distractions and comfort.

If you’re feeling frenetic and in quick-task mode, you’re not likely to focus on deep work, but instead will look for easy busywork to do.

Mental states will usually affect whether we do our exercise, eat healthy, binge watch TV shows, drink alcohol, eat junk food, or are open-hearted (or rude) with the people we love.

So it’s really important to monitor mental states. It’s also an incredible skill to be able to move yourself into the proper mental state to do focused work, to create, to meditate, to exercise, or do whatever you find meaningful.

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Meditation: Sitting with Your Basic Goodness

By Leo Babauta

There is a part of us, in all of us, that worries that we’re not good enough. Not good enough to succeed, to handle the chaos of life, to be loved.

It’s the reason we get anxiety and stress — if we’re not good enough, what will happen when everything collapses and we can’t handle it? It’s the reason for social anxiety — if we’re not good enough, what will happen when people find out? It’s the reason for attachment to social media and constant distraction, for procrastination and unhealthy habits, and much more.

What if we trusted that we are good enough, that we don’t have to do anything to prove it, that we don’t have to worry about that anymore?

We could be at peace. Completely present with the moment in front of us. Completely focused on the task before us. Completely open to the people around us. Completely in love with the world as it is.

The way to build this trust is to meditate on our basic goodness.

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The Simplify Your Life Challenge

By Leo Babauta

Our lives naturally get busy, complicated, stressful, hectic, overwhelming. It’s the nature of things: we say yes to too much and overcommit ourselves; we fill in all the spaces with possessions, things to do, distractions; we give in to urges to do more, read more, watch more, buy more, want more.

So what can we do in the face of this overwhelming swarm of busyness?

We can simplify.

This month, I’m issuing a challenge to simplify your life — not the possessions and physical clutter, but the things you do and the clutter of your time and commitments.

I’m calling it the Simplify Your Life Challenge, and you can join my Sea Change Program to participate.

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