December, 2009


28
Dec 09

Year End Review

I have posted 24 times these past 5 and a half months. The content can be summarized by reviewing the categories that I have created for the posts. Analysis, Media, Meta, Mindfulness and Rationality. The majority of the posts have been focused on rational thinking in everyday life (rationality) and how to analyze my life to gain a better understanding of myself (analysis). I have attempted to explore the concept of mindfulness (mindfulness) and attempted to figure out where the connections between rational thought and mindfulness occur (meta). I have also mentioned stories that have inspired me (media).
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21
Dec 09

Flow

Flow diagramI want to introduce another concept that complements the mind like water goal of Getting Things Done and the mindfulness aspect of mental readiness.  Flow is what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls the state that you are in when you are totally focused on what you are working on.  Sometimes its called being “in the zone”.

The horizontal axis in the picture shows the level of skill someone has when performing certain tasks.  The vertical axis shows that task’s level of challenge.  If the tasks are not very challenging and the person’s skills at these tasks are low, then that person is at the A1 state.  If the tasks remain at the same challenge level, the person will eventually move to A2 where he or she will be bored.  If the challenge levels of the tasks are raised and the person’s skills remain the same, he or she will reach A3 where the person will become anxious.  The key in either the A2 or A3 situation is to get back in the flow channel by either increasing the challenge or increasing the skills.

Csikszentmihalyi says the flow state can happen to someone when they are working, reading, writing, drawing, playing games, etc.  Any number of experiences can produce the flow mental state as long as the actions meet certain criteria.

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14
Dec 09

Mind Like Water

water

Even though the practice seems very effective, there are more ways to battle procrastination than tricking yourself into doing productive activities. I am always trying to figure out why I am procrastinating in the first place, which is probably just another way that I procrastinate. But trying to stop the root cause of the procrastination could be very helpful and is worth thinking about. David Allen in Getting Things Done says that you need to determine what your next action is in order to move forward with a project and mobilize yourself.
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7
Dec 09

Structured Procrastination

I have been trying to catch up on my RSS feeds lately, and I came across a nice article on the less wrong blog. That blog is quickly becoming a must-read feed for me. It consistently has posts that match my interests involving rational thought and personal improvement. Here is a post that I recently came across.

Akrasia is the term that the folks over at less wrong (and philosophers in general, it seems) use to call the lack of self control. Or, more specifically, akrasia is when you act against your better judgement. The post suggests fooling yourself into doing something you’ve been meaning to do when you are procrastinating. Instead of mindlessly browsing the web or watching TV while attempting to avoid doing real work, you should read one of the many books that you have been meaning to read. The task that you choose to do does not have to be stressful either. It can be relaxing. He mentions going outside or getting a drink. The trick is to have a purpose to your procrastination actions.
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