Information from the Newsletter
Research shows gratitude to be one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself – being grateful is good for you! I genuinely appreciate it when people send someone to me as a patient, and I have finally come up with a way to show my gratitude.
From Greg McKeown, Author of Essentialism
1. Exploring Monk Mode for higher productivity
2. The 30 Second Habit With A Lifelong Impact
(I do this on Evernote – https://evernote.com)
3. A Resolution Free Year
By Martha D’Adamo
From Greg McKeown, Author of Essentialism
The Magic of Being in Monk Mode
A year ago I sat in bed late at night, wide awake. I was tired but unable to sleep. I sighed out loud, “I am never going to get this done in time!” I was hyperventilating. The good news? A publisher had just agreed to publish my first solo book. The bad news? Now I needed to write it. As Dorothy Parker is credited with having said, “I hate to write. I love having written.” I can relate.
Even without a book to write I had a full life. To add possible irony to the situation, the book was about the pursuit of less. So the idea of being stressed out for a year while I wrote it simply was not an option.
While not everyone has a year-long writing project, I don’t think I am alone in wishing for a bit more uninterrupted time to think, breathe and create. Do you ever get frustrated with being interrupted? Do you wish you had a place to retreat at work to do serious thinking? Do you find open-planned office spaces a bit suffocating at times because, ironically, they don’t provide you with the space you need? Do you believe the quality of your work would go up and your stress go down if you had more time and space to really concentrate?
I talked it over with my wife (the wisest person I know). Together we came up with a plan: I would go into monk mode. When Dan Roth, the Executive Editor at LinkedIn, heard of this he suggested I share a bit about the experience in a blog. His questions and my answers are below.
What exactly is monk mode?
It means shutting out the world for a time. It is a relatively extreme approach to take, but we decided I would write from 5AM to 1PM every day. I did that for five days a week for about 9 months. I worked from a small office — tiny really—but in it I found space. And in that space I found creative freedom.
How did you let people know you were going into monk mode?
I set my autoresponder as follows:
I am currently working on a new book which has put enormous burdens on my time. Unfortunately, I am unable to respond in the manner I would like. For this, I apologize.
p.s. If this is a continuing conversation, please ignore and expect my response in the near future.
Your auto email responses must have generated some controversy among your peers, right?
To my great surprise there has been not a single negative reaction as a result of the bounce back. People adjusted just fine.
Does monk mode work?
On a personal level it meant I was done with the hardest work of the day by lunch time and it meant that by 4PM I was done for the day and able to be with my family. What could have been a family-compromising undertaking turned into a family-investment period.
On a professional level writing the book was neither stressful nor forced: it flowed. Exaggerating the point in order to make it, it was an almost effortless process. With a routine that acknowledged the difficulty of the task, what would have been painful became a relatively frictionless — even joyful — experience. Of course, great credit goes to my editor Talia Krohn for this and to my wife Anna for taking on the morning routine with the children!
Would you do it differently next time?
I have been in mourning since monk mode came to an end. So much so that after a few weeks I have been moving back to a version of it. I am writing this in my 5AM window.
Is it for everyone?
To be anything like this extreme seems totally unrealistic for most people today. But, really, that seems like an evidence of the problem.
Is what I did extreme? Yes. Do we live in an extreme era? Yes. The work world is infected with the disease of busyness. People often experience motion sickness rather than momentum. They become tricked by the trivial. So I would argue that an extreme routine is only reasonable in such an extreme environment.
As knowledge workers we need to advocate for space so we can find the signal in the sound. As managers we need to protect our people’s space to think, concentrate and get things done. There is a time to collaborate together; there is a time to be in monk mode. As Pablo Picasso is credited with saying, “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.”
The 30 Second Habit With A Lifelong Impact
From Greg McKeown, Author of Essentialism
Taken from http://gregmckeown.com/blog/30-second-habit-lifelong-impact/
What follows is a beautiful Essentialist practice in a gorgeous piece written by my friend Robyn Scott (one of WIRED’s 50 People About to Change the World). Enjoy.
There are no quick fixes. I know this as a social science junkie, who’s read endless books and blogs on the subject, and tried out much of the advice?—?mostly to no avail. So I do not entitle this post lightly. And I write it only having become convinced, after several months of experimentation, that one of the simplest pieces of advice I’ve heard is also one of the best.
It is not from a bestselling book?—?indeed no publisher would want it: even the most eloquent management thinker would struggle to spin a whole book around it. Nor is it born out of our world of digital excess and discontent. Instead, it was given by a man born in the 19th century, to his teenage grandson, today in his fifth decade.
The man in question, an éminence grise of the business world, is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. He has helped devise brands that are household names. These days, working only when he feels he has something to offer, he is parachuted in to solve stock price threatening corporate crises. Occasionally, when he’s sufficiently interested, he pens speeches for Fortune 500 CEOs and politicians, his words billed out at six figures. He is exceptionally well read, and also writes prolifically. Novels. But just for fun: on completion, he destroys them. He does not see the point in being published, or of seeking publicity in general. Amongst his friends are some of the most powerful people on the planet?—?from business leaders, to politicians, actors and other luminaries of the arts. But Google him, and you will find barely a ripple on the cyber seas.
I met him first over a coffee in his apartment, to discuss the strategy for a highly political non-profit working in Africa. Around his table sat an eclectic mix of very vocal people. Our host, making the coffee, said almost nothing. But on the few occasions he did interject, with a brief question or observation, it invariably clarified exactly what mattered— politely sweeping away the sludge of opinion that clogs such discussions. It was masterful: like watching a conductor of the London Philharmonic coaxing a small town student orchestra into shape.
So when he shared some of the best advice he’d ever received, I was captivated.
If you only do one thing, do this
He was in his early teens, about to start senior school, when his grandfather took him aside and told him the following:
Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds?—?no more, no less?—?to write down the most important points. If youalways do just this, said his grandfather, and even if you only do this, with no other revision, you will be okay.
He did, and he was. In everything he has done since, with such accomplishment, and with enough room still to experience life so richly. He later inducted into the pact both his sons, who have excelled in their young careers.
I’ve been trying it out for a few months. Here’s what I’ve found so far:
1.It’s not note taking: Don’t think, just because you write down everything in a meeting, that you’re excused from the 30 second summation. Though brief, this exercise is entirely different from taking notes. It’s an act of interpretation, prioritisation and decision-making.
2.It’s hard work: Deciding what’s most important is exhausting. It’s amazing how easy it is to tell yourself you’ve captured everything that matters, to find excuses to avoid this brief mental sprint?—?a kind of 100 metres for your brain.
3.Detail is a trap: Precisely because we so often, ostensibly, capture everything, we avoid the hard work of deciding what few things count. So much of excellence is, of course, the art of elimination. And the 30 second review stops you using quantity as an excuse.
4.You must act quickly: If you wait a few hours, you may recall the facts, but you lose the nuance. And this makes all the difference in deciding what matters. Whether it’s the tone in someone’s voice, or the way one seemingly simple suggestion sparks so many others, or the shadow of an idea in your mind triggered by a passing comment.
5.You learn to listen better, and ask better questions: Once you get into the habit of the 30 second review, it starts to change the way you pay attention, whether listening to a talk or participating in a discussion. It’s like learning to detect a simple melody amidst a cacophony of sound. And as you listen with more focus, and ask better questions which prompt actionable answers, so your 30 second review becomes more useful.
6.You’re able to help others more: Much of what makes the 30 second cut are observations about what matters to other people. Even if the purpose is to help better manage different interests in future conversations, it also helps you understand others’ needs, and so solve their problems. This does not surprise me: in months of interviewing people who make generous connections, I’ve been struck by how many have their own unconscious version of the 30 second review: focused on the question of how best they can help.
7.It gets easier and more valuable: Each time you practice, it gets a little easier, a little more helpful, and little more fun.
A Resolution Free Year
By Martha D’Adamo
Taken from http://www.4yourtype.com/newsletter/january-2015/#1
Each year, as December comes to a close and I prepare for the new year, I try to pay special attention to completing outstanding projects, finish up any “unfinished” business, and put my physical space in order so I can welcome in the new year.
I also set goals and resolutions for the upcoming year with all good and full intentions of keeping them. Some I do; some I don’t. As I talk to friends, clients and associates, I hear a lot of groaning about resolutions, and the overall consensus is that everyone wants them, but no one wants to feel defeat when they don’t keep them.
I thought I would try something new this upcoming year. Rather than a list of resolutions, goals, aspirations, I am going to work on letting go…surrendering into the new year and whatever comes with it. Now, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that I am giving up or that I don’t care; quite the contrary. I care very deeply and I am very committed to my continuing self-improvement in all areas of my life—personal/professional, body, mind and soul.
My commitment is to live each day in the moment; to maintain my integrity in words and deeds; to cultivate joy and laughter in my life so that lightness of spirit becomes a companion, a dear friend who’ll be with me in all the ups and downs that life will bring to me this year.
I recently took a yoga class, and the teacher said “surrender into the pose.” Easier said than done for me, as I struggle to regain my flexibility after a year of limited movement due to a slower than expected recovery from foot surgery. As I tried to calm my breathing and stop struggling to stay in the pose, the teacher said something that resonated very deeply with me. To paraphrase her, she said that we often times struggle with surrender. We make it feel like work, as if there’s a big effort to surrender, and really it is just letting go. She said, rather than refer to surrender, we might reframe it as “calmly abiding.” I loved that phrase, as it allows me to shift the idea of working to surrender to listening and embracing the natural flow of my life.
We can surrender into health and wellness, embracing our unique individuality and uniqueness. Rather than grumbling and groaning about how much work it is, what we need to give up, why we can’t have something, we can “calmly abide” as we eat right for your types, support our bodies with healthy movement, and allow time for rest and relaxation.
From a corporate perspective, we strive to create an opportunity for our extended community to find a place that is welcoming and supportive, that creates an environment for self expression and growth, and that is dedicated to full expression – one individual at a time. We are dedicated to providing support for individuals who are seeking the fullest expression of their individuality, and all of our products and services are designed with this in mind. Whether you come to us through our website, Personalized Living blog, or through our customer service department, our goal is to provide superior service that parallels the superior products and services we offer to support a personalized and individualized lifestyle.
On behalf of Dr. Peter D’Adamo and the staff of D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, I wish you all a healthy and happy New Year, free of resolutions except one: to live life to the fullest each and every day, fully expressing the uniqueness that you bring to the world.