Innovation

Learn to focus when work and home collide

I'm not much of a Monday sort of

person. It's an important day, I'll give it that, but after a nice

weekend with my son I'm inclined to take it easy. Keeping up with a

two-year old is hard work. Working from home with said son running

around makes Mondays even harder. When I'm out of the house the

change in surroundings helps to reset my mental state. At home, I'm

still in the same frame of mind at the start the day.

This Monday set itself apart from the

usual run-of-the-mill by starting off at a gallop. A storm of emails

and calls forced me to move quickly, shooting off responses and

explanations at a blistering pace. Meanwhile some family business

finally came to fruition and I worked out a better explanation for

one of the methods I use in holographic analysis.

In this environment I had to find the

stillness required for action by balancing four basic competing

forces:
  1. The financial press created by the business of having a family

  2. The psychological pull to assist my wife and child while still having to work

  3. The intellectual stretching

    required to track all of the ideas and communication threads flying

    around
  4. The emotional oscillation caused by my own hopes and fears as I reviewed various opportunities

Now, I could just repress one or more

aspects of my personality so I could focus on one thing at a time.

Focus is one of the most important aspects of the disciplines I

practice; with that one thing you can move mountains. However, I

know from practical experience that repression leads to greater

problems over time. It's also somewhat addictive, since it allows

you to generate great activity without necessarily addressing the

things throwing you off balance.

In order to deal with the situation I

deployed one of my favorite tricks; making a cup of tea. Yes, tea.

Let me explain.

When it comes to a drink of choice, I

know a lot of people like coffee. The caffeine helps us to get over

our near chronic sleep deprivation. For historical reasons it's

also the drink of choice in work related social situations (from way

back when, when beer was about the only thing you could drink without

getting sick). That said, I'm a tea man.

Why tea? It is the flavor? The aroma?

The fact I sometimes have very high blood pressure and don't like to

take medications? The availability of herbal preparations which

generally make an appearance in island intoxicants? All of those

mean something, I guess, but the reason is really much more

practical.

Tea is about ritual. You prepare the

water in particular, idiosyncratic way. You select a tea, place it

in your tea bag/ball/tripod. When the water is ready, you decant it.

Then you wait while the tea steeps; nothing can change the need to

wait but you can decide how long you wait based on your tea selection

and preferences. When the moment arrives you strain the tea into a

cup (or two) and then move forward.

Rituals allow us to both create order

and return to focus. In this case, the time-honored elements of

making tea allow me to focus in on something simple while my

subconscious chews away at how to organize everything else. That

focus calms me, which in turn allows me to use the answers I come up

with during the “down time” to greater effect.

I choose tea as my ritual for a lot of personal reasons; that's what makes it effective.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go brew a pot. I have some things to not think about.

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