How to improve your concentration

Being focused on what you’re doing helps you do good work. And it’s fun to sink deep into a project.

If you’re feeling a little scattered, here are 5 Buddhist tips for meditation that also help with concentration.

Pay attention to where you’re working
If you’re trying to do serious work in a noisy, active place – good luck! When you need to focus, give yourself the best shot possible by finding or creating a calm, quiet place with few distractions. You may think you can concentrate amidst chaos, but give quiet a chance and see how much it improves both the amount and quality of your output. Continue reading

Write it down

What do you do when you have a great idea – but it’s the middle of the night. Or you’re in the shower. Or you’re driving your car. And you try to remember that idea by reminding yourself. And reminding yourself. But before you can take action, the idea fades away.

If you want to capture more ideas and get them closer to action, write your ideas down whenever and wherever they come to you. Put a pad of paper, a pen, and a flashlight next to the bed. Keep a pad of paper in the bathroom so as soon as you exit the shower you have a place to record your thoughts. If you’re driving, pull over. It’s better to do that and get the thought out of your head than it is to drive distracted. Continue reading

Get some sleep!

Our society seems to value getting by on very little sleep. How many times have you heard someone say, “Yep, I get by on five hours a night,” and you think, “I should be able to do that.”

But the thing is your body needs deep, uninterrupted sleep every night. Sleep is when your brain reorganizes and recharges. When you cut that short, you wake up groggy. You can’t answer a question until you’ve had at least two cups of coffee. You fantasize about taking a nap as you head into a late afternoon meeting. You have a heck of a time staying focused.  And good luck getting to the things you want to get done.

You may feel like you’re getting by just fine, but new medical studies show that a lack of regular sleep can have significant health implications – with brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, and on your over-all good health.

I loved a recent write-up in the Smithsonian about how even jellyfish have to sleep. This means that this sea creature becomes completely vulnerable for certain periods of the day or night – and yet has survived for millennia. Continue reading

Taking on too much

I started working at a “regular” job about 3 weeks ago after doing freelance work for 17 years. I have freelance work I’m still wrapping up. And I continue to run two web businesses. And I’ve given 3 talks on Organizational Zen in as many weeks. AND we held auditions this week for a musical I’m directing that includes a cast of 16 kids and 14 adults.

I’m not eating much or sleeping enough because I don’t have time. I’m in new environments with new routines. I’m meeting dozens of new people. And I’m learning new skills and testing old ones at work and at the theater.

I feel swamped and somewhat out of control like I can’t catch my breath. I missed a call last week – which I HATE. And I feel like I really, really just want to take a nap but I can’t because there’s too much to be done! Continue reading

Get out of the briar patch

It’s so important in life to do what you say you’re going to do and to be fully committed. But if you feel your energy drain when you’re in your briar patch or even think about your briar patch, it might be time to get out.

The weird thing about briar patches is they’re not all that easy to get into – whether your briar patch is a job, a house, a relationship. You worked hard to get where you are! And we all like forward motion so the tendency is to keep moving, hoping that things will magically get better. Continue reading

Ideas for a 30-day challenge

I’m teaching a class this winter and have been toying with the idea of making it a 30-day challenge. When I found this graphic on the web last week, I thought, “This is it! I’ll do a 30-day declutter challenge.”

I gave this a little more thought and decided no one could declutter for 30 days straight without losing their mind. I mean, I like decluttering and this chart looks daunting.

That got me thinking about other 30-day challenges. Continue reading

When you’re having a bad day…

I’m just finishing an audio version of Sharon Salzberg’s book Real Happiness at Work. Sharon’s focus, as always, is on practicing loving kindness.

Here are three tips  from Sharon if you’re having a bad day: Continue reading