December, 2010

Dec 10

Year End Review #2

This is post number 52 of this year.

Which is not surprising because this is the last week of the year, and I have been posting every Monday of every week since this blog’s inception (even when I have tried not to).

The year started off with some strong mindfulness posts. After a few months, I posted about my lack of mindfulness while in the car and while the tv is on. But I found that I was not always lacking mindfulness. I posted about a spot I sat at during lunch that helped me bring my mind back to my senses. I typically focus on what I need to do and not what I have accomplished. Stepping Out of the Patterns was a rare post where I recognized my accomplishments.

Then I posted about how mindfulness can bring about action. This was a part of a series of posts concerning action. I wrote about rationality found in installing a gate. And how taking part in reality is how you truly understand reality. I used that aphorism while writing this post.

I wrote a few posts about how I attempted to find rationality in everyday life.

Throughout the year, I tried to post about specific rationality concepts that I could look for within everyday life. Logical fallacies. Occam’s razor. Confirmation bias. There was a nice visual guide to cognitive biases that I linked to here. I also attempted to explain the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning. I had to throw in the Monty Hall problem showing how we just don’t get statistics right off the bat. And one fallacy that I deal with all the time is Moving the Goalposts.

I questioned why practicing mindfulness was not common in Western society: here, here and here. I also posted about a possible way that mindfulness could become accepted within Western society. Along with that technology, I mentioned a technique that I used to help focus on my senses.

Mindfulness is a brick wall that stops a wandering mind and promotes a non-judgmental, objective point of view. And I wanted to understand how I practice mindfulness better. So, I started quantifying and analyzing it.

Speaking of analysis, I posted quite a lot about analyzing my life and how I think. Backed by other great thinkers calling for the analysis and understanding of your own and others thoughts, I took the mindfulness analysis and recognized some controlling thoughts.

I dove deeper into the types of thoughts that controlled my attention and found some clarity breakers. There were a few techniques that I attempted to use to break down controlling thoughts. And through these practices I found that quite often: my anticipations of things were incorrect and that there really is no silver bullet.

I have been writing this blog for over a year now.  I removed distractions. I am tracking my efficiency. And I am finding some interesting numbers.

I am moving forward.

Dec 10

The Mindfulness Brick Wall

Brick WallI am fairly busy right now. When I think about all the things that I have to do, I feel anxiety.

The amount of activity and anxiety is nothing new. I have had many periods in my life when I have felt overloaded.

However, my reaction to the anxiety is different this time around. When I find worry taking over, I counter with mindfulness.

Continue reading →

Dec 10

Judgment and Objectivity

GavelRecently, I have been talking about analysis quite frequently.

I enjoy the topic. But I find that if I do not keep myself in check, I can get carried away with the collecting, analyzing and peripheral activities that come along with it.

Judging is one of those peripheral activities.

Since I have a better understanding of how I spend my time, I feel as if I have more control over how I spend it. And if I have the ability to choose how I spend my time, I automatically judge if one way of spending my time is better than another.

This goes against a fundamental principle found in both science and mindfulness: objectivity.

We are trying to understand the world in a way that is independent of the observer. These biases, judgments and opinions can get in the way of fully understanding what we are observing.

I mentioned this common trait in a post I wrote over a year ago: Universal Loving Kindness.

Mindfulness wants to let you see the world as it truly is, regardless of how you think the world should be. Science is exactly the same.

I recognize the need to make judgments. There is no way to get away from them. They guide me in the direction I want to take in life.

However, there must be a clear separation between the observation and judgment. And I must be mindful of which one I am practicing at all times.

Photo courtesy of bloomsberries 

Dec 10

Some Interesting Numbers

The benefit of logging your hours is not just in the process of writing the information down, it also comes from analyzing the data.

Given three weeks of data, I have found some surprising facts.

I sleep more on weeknights than on weekends. Monday through Thursday, I average 7.36 hours of sleep. Friday through Sunday, I average 6.56 hours. A difference of 0.8 hours. Whenever I thought that I was not getting enough sleep, I always used to blame it on not going to bed early enough on weeknights.

Now I know that the weekends are the times when I don’t get enough sleep. I was biased. I wanted to blame work for my lack of sleep. But I can’t now. The numbers are keeping me objective.

I commute 1.56 hours a day, on an average workday.

I work, on average, 7.18 hours during workdays and 4.29 hours on the weekends.

And if you add the hours I sleep, commute and work on workdays, you get 16.1 hours. There are 7.9 hours left unaccounted for.

Most of that time is spent with family. But a good amount is spent on activities that I thought took minimal amount of time in my life.

One of those activities was watching TV. There were days where I did not watch any TV. But then there were days when I watched TV for over two hours. This is more than the average 1.56 hours of commuting. As I suspected, there are times that I choose to be as unproductive as I am while commuting.

Of course, I will need to continue to log data for a much longer period of time to get a better idea of how my time is spent. There has been a number of events during these past three weeks that may skew the data one way or another.

But the findings are very interesting, so far.