Watching the river go by

If you’re a regular reader of our humble blog, you may have noticed that we like rivers here at Snagsta. A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Alex G’s theory about project management being a bit like white water rafting.

This week we’re picking up comments from recent blog posts from both Nic Brisbourne and Stowe Boyd about slower flowing rivers.

One of the reasons we set up Snagsta was to cut out clutter and help people deal with the perils of information overload. This is why Stowe’s concept of dealing with information such as feeds, news and status updates struck a cord with us here at Snagstaville.

Stowe likens this flow of data to a river of information. Instead of trying to intercept and process it all, he suggests only looking at it when you can and sample what is passing at any given moment.

He goes on to say that you shouldn’t waste time worrying about missing things because if anything’s really important it will be written about later and will therefore flow by again shortly.

Makes a lot of sense to me.

As always, we will sign off with a list. As this week’s topic is a peaceful one, I thought it appropriate that we showcase a complementary list about contentment from the wonderfully content Leo Babauta from Zen Habits.

Peaceful Simplicity: How to Live a Life of Contentment

1. What’s important. First, take a step back and think about what’s important to you. What do you really want to be doing, who do you want to spend your time with, what do you want to accomplish with your work? Make a short list of 4-5 things for your life, 4-5 people you want to spend time with, 4-5 things you’d like to accomplish at work.

2. Examine your commitments. A big part of the problem is that our lives are way too full. We can’t possibly do everything we have committed to doing, and we certainly can’t enjoy it if we’re trying to do everything. Accept that you can’t do everything, know that you want to do what’s important to you, and try to eliminate the commitments that aren’t as important.

3. Do less each day. Don’t fill your day up with things to do. You will end up rushing to do them all. If you normally try (and fail) to do 7-10 things, do 3 important ones instead (with 3 more smaller items to do if you get those three done). This will give you time to do what you need to do, and not rush.

4. Leave space between tasks or appointments. Another mistake is trying to schedule things back-to-back. This leaves no cushion in case things take longer than we planned (which they always do), and it also gives us a feeling of being rushed and stressed throughout the day. Instead, leave a good-sized gap between your appointments or tasks, allowing you to focus more on each one, and have a transition time between them.

5. Eliminate as much as possible from your to-do list. You can’t do everything on your to-do list. Even if you could, more things will come up. As much as you can, simplify your to-do list down to the essentials. This allows you to rush less and focus more on what’s important.

6. Now, slow down and enjoy every task. This is the most important tip in this article. Read it twice. Whatever you’re doing, whether it’s a work task or taking a shower or brushing your teeth or cooking dinner or driving to work, slow down. Try to enjoy whatever you’re doing. Try to pay attention, instead of thinking about other things. Be in the moment. This isn’t easy, as you will often forget. But find a way to remind yourself. Unless the task involves actual pain, there isn’t anything that can’t be enjoyable if you give it the proper attention.

7. Single-task. This is kind of a mantra of mine, as I talk about how to single-task all the time. But it’s an important point for me, and for this article. Do one thing at a time, and do it well.

8. Eat slower. This is just a more specific application of Tip #6, but it’s something we do every day, so it deserves special attention.

9. Drive slower. Another application of the same principle, driving is something we do that’s often mindless and rushed. Instead, slow down and enjoy the journey.

10. Eliminate stress. Find the stressors in your life, and find ways to eliminate them.

11. How and why to slow down. This is such an important point, that I’m going to point you to two other articles on this.

12. Create time for solitude. In addition to slowing down and enjoying the tasks we do, and doing less of them, it’s also important to just have some time to yourself.

13. Do nothing. Sometimes, it’s good to forget about doing things, and do nothing.

14. Sprinkle simple pleasures throughout your day. Knowing what your simple pleasures are, and putting a few of them in each day, can go a long way to making life more enjoyable.

15. Practice being present. You can practice being in the moment at any time during the day.

16. Find inspirations. Learn from the best.

17. Make frugality an enjoyable thing too. Instead of delayed gratification, try enjoying life now while saving for later.

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3 Responses to Watching the river go by

  1. [...] River of Twitter Alex Moore’s post 2 weeks ago resonated with me for a few reasons. One of which is the fact that I think he copied my [...]

  2. letmeveg says:

    I just posted a note about my most recent struggles with life. I will try writing down your recommendation and focus on them. can I post a link to your blog, I love it?

  3. Hehe, this is one of my favorite blogs. Keep up the good work.

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