Why Knowing Your Personal Time Zone Will Make You More Successful and Happier

Recently, I was given a piece of advice which led to breakthrough for me and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

It changed my perspective on a couple of things:

  1. Why I am happy doing certain things.
  2. Why I am good at certain things.

These might seem like simple questions, but knowing the answers to these two things can be incredibly powerful.

They help guide you to make better decisions about your life – things you do, people you spend time with and ultimately they can influence how successful and happy you are.

Below are just a few of the things, that become easier (I’ll cover these in more detail further below):

  • Know which jobs you’ll be best and happiest in.
  • Know who to surround yourself with to be more successful (particularly at work).
  • Know which hobbies will likely be a good fit for you – aswell as be more motivated and consistent when starting new hobbies.
  • Have better personal and professional relationships (specifically because you can understand where others are coming from).

Personal Time Zones

The best way to introduce the concept of personal time zones is to share the conversation when I had my ‘Aha’ moment.

I was talking with someone who I had specifically sought out for some advice, and he asked me the question ‘what do you love doing? – what can you get lost in?’

I typically find this question quite hard to answer. However, we continued to press through several rounds of me trying to come up with stuff – things I liked doing recently, things I enjoyed doing as a kid, particular jobs I really enjoyed (and specifically what parts of those jobs I enjoyed the most).

And then he hit me with it.

‘You sound like a 2-3 steps ahead type of guy’

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that, but he asked me a few further questions, and the answers started to highlight that I do indeed think a few steps ahead a lot of the time.

He went on to explain that everyone has a personal time zone that they are best and happiest in.

  • Some people like to think a lot about the past and like analysing it.
  • Some people are much more comfortable in the now and being present in what they are doing. They easily get lost in what they do and don’t stress much about the future.
  • Some people tend to think a few steps ahead, thinking ahead to the next few months.
  • Some people find it easier to think a few years ahead.
  • Some people find it most natural to think about things 5-10 or even 20+ years ahead

He quickly followed with, each of these is perfectly ok. What’s important is that you know what type of timezone you are most comfortable with and then use that to help guide decisions in your life.

He finished with ‘you seem like a person who is always trying to be 2-3 steps ahead and likes to think forward probably 1-3 months at a time. You probably struggle to get excited and comfortable about the past, or things that are very long term

YES. BANG ON.

As soon as he said this, my mind started racing with all of the very obvious examples that seem to back up this statement.

When I read, I tend to skim read. I just want to know the gist of things and am always racing to be a few chapters ahead.

I struggle to sit down and watch a movie. I just see it as a couple of hours of dead time (very much a ‘now’ type of activity).

At work, my default mode seems to be briefly understanding the long term view (say 12-18 months), but then to get very clear on what needs to happen in the next 3-6 months. My only focus then is to start laying out the path towards it and to start building momentum around it.

It’s not a coincidence that there are two types of people who can frustrate me at times (mostly at work). Those that only focus on what they are doing that day (I find this random and disorganised) or those that prefer to talk about things many, many years ahead (It’s not that I think there isn’t a time and place for this, but generally I find this distracting from executing in the short-term).

The projects I have always found the most exciting is when there is a big, juicy goal 3-6 months out (preferably 3). I love building momentum around those types of projects.

I’ve never contributed properly to a pension. Even though I know it’s probably the right thing to do, I just find the whole concept way too far in the future. I would rather build wealth throughout my life so I know for sure what I’m working with when I am older.

When I speak with people, I’m often a few exchanges ahead in my head. I literally consider what the next few talking points / things to say could be in parallel to having the conversation (that actually seems a weird thing to do as I read back on what I typed!) This can be useful in certain types of conversations (influencing people, dealing with a difficult situation etc.), but it also interferes with being able to listen to people properly.

I’ve never been interested enough to ask many questions about my family’s past / history and as a result I have an embarrassingly low understanding of it.

I struggle to be present and simply enjoy the moment – whether that’s reading, enjoying a cold beer in the sun or watching a movie. I always have stuff going on in the back of my mind about what I could be doing next. It’s something I’ve been trying to be better at lately, and I can now see why it isn’t coming easy to me.

Aswell as noticing examples for my own personal time zone preference, I also started to think about other peoples personal time zones. It was actually amazingly obvious. I can picture friends and colleagues who clearly fit into each of the timezones I mentioned above.

I can even picture a few who seem to work quite well across a few of them. This can make someone incredibly effective, but I can only think of a couple of people that are like this. It’s more common that people seem to fit mostly into one.

Back to the five examples above

I mentioned a few things at the beginning, that become easier when you have an awareness of your personal time zone:

Know which jobs you’ll be best and happiest in

If you are like me and you have a view to being a few steps ahead, a role which requires you to spend most of your time either devising very long term strategy or analysing the past probably isn’t going to be a good fit for you.

By knowing your timezone, it can help you pick which types of jobs and responsibilities you will be both good at and happy in.

Know who to surround yourself with to be more successful (particularly at work)

Not only is it important to know your own personal time zone, but knowing other peoples can be really useful too.

We need people that can analyse the past as this helps us make better decisions for the future. We need people who get lost in what they do today and don’t get easily distracted – it’s called actually executing. 😉 We need people that can help lay out short to mid term milestones and keep the team focused and motivated around them. And we also need people that spend time thinking about the bigger picture as this helps guide our decisions in the short to mid term.

When I think back to some work situations / projects, I can see that often when things went well, we seemed to have a good mix of people with different personal time zones. But when there was an over-bias of one time zone, it caused problems (normally when thinking about the past or too far in the future was the bias)

It’s worth spending some time thinking about people in other timezones than yourself and how you can leverage different types of people to get the best overall result.

Know which hobbies will likely be a good fit for you – aswell as be more motivated and consistent when starting new hobbies

If you more naturally think in the past or too far ahead, sticking with hobbies can be tough. You either never get started or you become overwhelmed quickly.

A good example is I have been trying to learn French recently and have been inconsistent with listening to the audio lessons each day. I seem to be more focused on wanting to be quickly at the level where I can hold a good conversation (probably 3-6 months away) and also being fluent (probably 12+ months away). This can cause me to get frustrated with how slow things are going and I get impatient. Sometimes that discomfort causes me to skip listening to the audio lessons. I realised I need to break this down to a 1-3 month view, so that I can get really excited about it, much like I do at work.

So, I am booking in some conversational lessons in 2-3 weeks time. I am also going to book a week trip in France in 8 weeks time. After that, I should be at a point where I can hold down a conversation in French.

Not only does this act as a nice piece of accountability for me, it also gets me focused on just the next 2 months – both the result I want and what I need to do.

You might also want to consider what type of hobbies could best suit you. If you think super long term, something which requires intense day to day focus and activity might not be up your street. But something with a very clear and long term goal (i.e building a boat, car etc.) might be a good fit as it has a clear, long term result.

Have better personal and professional relationships (specifically because you can understand where they are coming from)

As mentioned above, it’s really about knowing your own personal time zone and having a good idea of the personal time zones of those around you. Once you know these, it’s much easier to put yourself in other peoples shoes.

The person that always seems to be going on about things five years ahead might get on your nerves, but at least you know why they do this. In fact, you almost certainly get on their nerves in much the opposite type of way 😉

I don’t like to admit that I can sometimes judge people too easily and harshly (myself included). Being aware of peoples personal time zones can make it easier to be patient and forgiving of others, including ourselves.

Closing thoughts – What this all means for me and you

Firstly, simply knowing what your personal time zone is makes things easier. Whatever it is, that’s perfectly ok.

Being self aware of it will help you see why you’re happy and good at some things, and not so happy or as good at other things.

It will also help you see why you like working with some people and why others can frustrate you. You’ll find that you become less judgemental and forgiving of others (and yourself).

Secondly, try and pick things and jobs to do which fit nicely with your time zone. You’ll achieve more and be happier for it.

Lastly, it can be interesting to experiment with other time zones. For example, I’m currently experimenting being more comfortable in the ‘now’. I really do want to be better at it.

I think I know in my heart it will never be my default zone to be in (although I do think with the right amount of time and effort it is possible to change), and that’s ok.

I’m very happy being a 2-3 steps ahead type of person, I just want to be able to enjoy the ‘now’ more when I choose to.

Look Up From Your Phone

I wanted to share a video I stumbled across earlier today.

It’s called ‘Look Up’ and it highlights how technology today is ironically making us less social.

I found it thought provoking and it’s well worth five minutes of your time to watch (video and some more of my thoughts below).

I love that it got me thinking back to when I was a kid.

Back then, my full attention was on everything I did. There weren’t any laptops, ipads or phones.

Whether it was playing football, cards, marbles, video games, bike ride adventures or sleepovers. There was always lots of laughing, pushing and celebrating.

The feeling of scoring a goal and hi-fiving your friend who set you up as you slowly ran back to your half of the pitch. Man, that was the best feeling. I can even feel some of how it felt now, as I think back to it.

Even the video games we played were actually social.

Getting a last minute winner on Fifa. Beating the ghost rider on Mario Kart. Taking it in turns to try and beat the level you’d been stuck on for so long on Super Mario, Castlevania, Gradius or Goldeneye. Getting whooped by your mate on Streetfighter 2.

We’d all be round the console together. Lots of laughing, celebrating when someone beat the end boss or jumping in to get the controller for the next go when they failed.

We had fun and there was always bursts of excitement and happiness.

Nowadays, ‘social’ in a game is considered sending a Facebook friend a virtual gift from your phone which is purely designed that way by someone with the goal of increasing virality of a product. You’re a number on a dashboard someone is trying to increase. Trust me, I’ve been that person.

It sounds like I’m dissing technology and today’s products – I’m really not.

I feel so incredibly lucky to be part of a generation that got to experience the internet and smart phones. I meet more people, I learn more and I get things done quicker and better.

But, as with most good things in life, there can be a sacrifice.

It’s incredibly addictive (actually count the number of times you check your mail each day, you’ll be surprised by how big the number is) and if we’re honest – as a result – we’re less present and have less genuine connections with our friends and family.

For me the video isn’t about bashing technology. It’s simply a reminder to leave my phone at home from time to time. To turn it off some evenings. To check mail just a few times a day. To notice more of what’s going on around me. To use the internet for focused periods of time. To get outside more.

Oh, and to laugh and be happy with people I love.

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A Simple Trick for Making Big Decisions

We all have to make decisions in life, and more importantly take responsibility for them.


It’s the big, life changing ones that can be daunting and cause us stress and anxiety. At times we can agonise and procrastinate over them for days or even months.

Should I go for that internal promotion?

Should I take a new job and switch companies?

Should I change career?

Should I leave my partner?

Should I start a relationship with person x?

etc. etc.

We seem to be fantastically good at imagining the big, scary consequences of such decisions. We exaggerate the negative implications and then create pictures and movies in our head for how these will play out. And then we repeat them over and over, until they become accepted as fact.

Sometimes it’s not even enough to do this whilst we’re conscious, we even do it in our dreams too!

Have you noticed that we rarely do this for how things could play out positively? Can you even remember a time when you imagined how things would work out for the best, let alone exaggerated and repeated over and over?

Why the hell do we do this?

Fear, self doubt and anxiety tends to get a hold early on, and from there it just completely takes over, distorting everything. Once it does this, it’s hard to snap out of it and get a balanced perspective again.

I wanted to share a simple technique which helps to break down big decisions logically, enabling you to make these big decisions quicker and more confidently.

The best and worst case scenario technique

With most decisions, you have a current situation (lets call it A) and the decision you make, will move you to a new situation (lets call it B).

The first thing to do is simply sit down quietly and make a list of what will happen in both the best and worst case scenario if you actually made the decision and moved to situation B.

Start with the worst case and then do the best case. Take your time and be realistic – particularly with the worst case scenario.

Keep an eye out for exaggerated worst case scenarios. I.e being homeless, having your partner leave you, having your reputation destroyed etc.

With most decisions, none of the above will actually happen. If in some unlikely turn of events it starts to look like they might, I’m betting that you probably have friends and family that would intervene way before they actually happened right?

Lets look at an example. If I went ‘all in’ on a new business project (money and time) and it failed, would I lose my house, have Ella leave me and be the laughing stock of my friends and colleagues?

I doubt it. In fact, it would never happen.

Firstly, I know I could rely on many friends and family to ensure I don’t sleep rough. I know Ella would stick by me and I also know that I have the right types of friends and ex-colleagues who will be supportive of either outcome.

Therefore, the worst case scenario is a bit more like getting into some debt or moving in with friends and family and probably then landing a decent job at a tech company.

That doesn’t seem as bad as being homeless, alone and a laughing stock does it? 😉

Sometimes it just takes sitting down and writing things out logically as a best and worst case scenario to gain a proper perspective.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different and we will all have different options available to us. But that’s the great thing about creating a best and worse case scenario list – it’s your list and your situation.

Ok, so you have your best and worse case scenario lists – now what?

What you’ll normally find is that the worst case scenario feels a hell of lot better than you expected; and the best case scenario gets you pretty damn excited.

Sometimes the worst case scenario can still scare the crap out of you; and the best case scenario doesn’t excite you.

Either way, you can now use these to help guide your decision.

You don’t have to make the decision there and then, often sitting on it for a few days will help. However, with a best and worst case scenario list in front of you, it should now be easier and quicker to make.

Using the best and worst case scenario to mitigate risk

Another big benefit of making a best and worst case scenario list is that you can often mitigate the risks in the worst case scenario.

For example, lets say you are weighing up whether to take an internal promotion. One of the worst case scenarios might be getting dragged into working too many hours and this wrecking your work / life balance.

Now that you have actually thought and anticipated it, you can start to consider how to mitigate it.

For example, one of the things you could do is have a candid discussion with your boss and make it clear what your worry is and also what your expectations and limits are when it comes to working hours.

You may surprise yourself in that you don’t have a problem after all. Or perhaps it’s not quite as bad as you expected and you can agree a compromise which suits everyone.

And even if it is as bad as you thought. At least you know for sure now and can make a better, educated decision.

You’ll find that as you start to list out the worst case scenarios, you automatically start to think about ways to confirm and mitigate them – this is very powerful.

A few tips and pointers

If you’re still struggling with the best and worst case scenarios or the actual decision itself, take a few days out and try not to think about it. Often when you return to the exercise, you’ll find you see things more clearly. It’s amazing how some downtime can clear things up.

If you’re still struggling after that, it can also be useful to get some help from a friend or mentor. Just make sure it’s someone you respect and whose judgement you value.

Walk through the decision you’re faced with, the best and worse case scenarios and what your gut is telling you to do. Have an honest conversation around it.

You should find that your perspective is better afterwards and it helps to steer your decision somewhat.

‘Steer’ being the key word there.

Remember, it’s your decision, not theirs. What you’re looking for is validation on your best and worst case scenarios, a better perspective on the risk involved and ideas for how to mitigate. That way, you will be better positioned to make the decision for yourself.

A last word on decisions

Most decisions are a catalyst for starting a journey and rarely do they impact you in a permanent way. Sometimes you just have to make the call, push forward and adjust if necessary. The best decision makers tend to weigh things up thoroughly, but then assertively make the call and commit.

I wrote a bit about this when I reviewed my favourite book, The Alchemist. Below is an excerpt:

‘Big decisions are simply that – a decision. In themselves, most are unlikely to impact your life in a permanent way or for 5+ years. Instead they are often just a catalyst for starting a journey where many other subsequent decisions will follow. This is well represented in the decisions Santiago has to make along his journey.

At the end of the day it is better to simply be decisive and then if you feel like you are moving down the wrong direction, you can always take the learnings and make another decision to pivot. And in fact normally you find yourself taking a route that was entirely unexpected and would not have been considered if you didn’t make that big decision in the first place. Sometimes you just have to commit and push forward.’

Last, last word

I’m certainly not claiming that making big decisions or dealing with the anxiety around them is easy.

I still find it hard and sometimes fall into the traps above. I still have to fight to push self doubt to the side and to stop those damn horrific movies in my head.

However, I’ve found that the best and worst case scenario technique helps to rationalise things and allows you to move forward quicker and easier.

A good example is recently I have decided to pursue life and business coaching. I felt great about that breakthrough and decision – particularly after a few months of uncertainty.

However, it didn’t take long for self doubt and worst case scenario movies to come knocking. What if I got NO clients – how embarrassing! How would I explain that to a future employer? Will I be judged by my friends and ex-colleagues as a failure? I felt like an imposter for believing people will pay me to help them be more successful! etc. etc.

So, I sat down and laid it out as a best worst case scenario and the actual worst case scenario looked just fine.

Lets imagine it doesn’t work out. I would spend 6 months coaching just a few people (I can’t imagine I would attract zero clients) and the chances are I would help them in some way. I would learn how to be a better coach. My savings would take a hit (no change there – they are currently anyway!). And afterwards, I would then seek another opportunity which takes advantage of my skills (which I am confident I would be able to find). I can even see how I would talk about this period with a new employer in a positive way and the fact that I would be a better coach of people would be a big plus for a future leadership role.

So, in summary I help a few people, become a better coach, my savings get depleted some and I would have to re-channel my efforts elsewhere.

Doesn’t look so bad huh?

But the best case is both awesome and exciting.

I would get both personal and business clients and make a real difference by helping them be more successful. I would be doing meaningful work that I love. I’d be improving my coaching skills. I’d be meeting lots of new people and getting an insight into many different companies. Best of all, I would have found something I love doing, can get paid well for and allows me the balance in life I have been missing for so long.

When you look at it like that, it’s a complete no brainer to commit to situation B (more on this over the next few weeks). The worst case is just fine and the best case has tons of upside.

The next time you’re faced with a big decision, give the best and worst case scenario technique a try for yourself. I think you will find it very useful.

Thanks to Barry Avraam and Jess Ratcliffe for reading drafts of this.

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Creating and Keeping Company Culture

I’ve been thinking about culture lately, particularly how companies establish and evolve their culture over time.

I think there are some specific and important things that companies can do when it comes to setting and keeping company culture. However, before I get into it, I want to caveat them all with one thing.

The culture will largely be defined by the personality of the leadership team, particularly the CEO.

I’ll say that again, in a slightly different way:

How the CEO and leadership team go about their work (things they say and do, the decisions they make) is the biggest factor in the type of culture that is created.

The buck really does stop here.

Here’s a quick example.

In the early days of Jagex, the CEO and founder were very frugal and careful when it came to spending money.

They travelled economy and stayed in sensible hotels. They didn’t have better offices or equipment than anyone else. They didn’t grow their own teams or have personal support until they were genuinely stretched enough. They didn’t arrive to work in fancy cars. etc. etc.

As a result, the whole company took on that value.

I don’t even remember the CEO or founder ever talking much about being frugal and careful with spending money. It was just a strong value for them and part of their personalities, so they naturally led by example in that area.

Now, can you imagine if they had done all of the right things to establish being sensible and frugal with money as a company value and then went ahead and did the opposite? This may even be something you have seen in action at a place you’ve worked.

The downfall of the banks is also a good example to consider.

A culture of excessive risk-taking and bad behavior was encouraged and often rewarded. Now, I wasn’t in those companies, but I think it’s safe to say the leaders in these organisations set completely the wrong example in the things they said and did, and the decisions they made and everyone just followed.

How to create and keep culture

Leadership needs to set the example – I know I am repeating myself, but I really don’t care because this is the single, most important thing. If you don’t do it, everything will unravel.

If you do NOTHING ELSE, decide as a leadership group what values are important and that you want in the company and then simply get out there and act as you expect everyone else to.

Remember, it’s when the business faces tough challenges and difficult decisions, that people in the organisation are looking to see how leadership responds. This can be the toughest time to stick to your values, but potentially the most important. People remember these moments the most.

And this applies to leadership at all levels. As your company grows and starts to have more structure, you simply can’t be everywhere in the business. You will need to rely on all levels of leadership to be ambassadors for creating the right culture and setting the right example. This is critical for ensuring your culture and values spread through the organisation and that you keep your culture as you scale.

Define your values – You can’t expect everyone to follow certain values if you don’t clearly define them. The process for this doesn’t have to be overly complex, but probably deserves a post of it’s own. So I will just say two things.

Firstly, allow some collaboration. This will give you the best end result and will ensure buy in. Involve the leadership team, senior people, founder / high influence type people and perhaps even the whole company (be a bit careful with this one though).

Secondly (and perhaps in contradiction to the first point), whilst you want collaboration, don’t get stuck in design by committee. Remember, you are leaders of the business, so you need to LEAD. This means setting the direction when it comes to values (or at least a good starting point for debate) and deciding on what they finally are.

Finding the right balance between you as leaders setting the scene, but also allowing collaboration is the key.

Make values visible and talk about them – Whatever way you decide, the key is to keep them in the forefront of peoples minds as often as possible.

If you ask someone spontaneously to describe the company culture or values and they look at you with a blank face or give you an answer you don’t like, you’ve gone wrong somewhere.

The more natural and unforced, the better. Culture / value posters, use of the company intranet, stationary, culture books etc. are all decent initiatives, but they also have a sense of being a bit forced.

It’s better to look for more natural and subtle ways to talk about culture with everyone. Highlighting and rewarding the right behaviour and talking openly about it when someone doesn’t (have to be careful here, but it can be done) can be the most powerful.

In summary, talk about them often and with context, and make them visible to all.

New employees and induction programmes – This should be part of the previous point, but I think it’s so important I wanted to pull it out separately.

The first few days, weeks and months in a new employees journey with you is so important. They are normally super excited, open minded and impressionable.

You literally have a time window to impress upon them a few important things and what you say is likely to stick and last, so use the time wisely.

I’d try spending at least a few hours with people on their first day and over their first few weeks to introduce them to the company culture and values. It needs to be the CEO and some senior leadership, not a random HR advisor who happens to be free that day.

Try and get some open discussion going and give as much context and examples as you can. I think even telling people stories of employees who have been fired for displaying the wrong values can be appropriate if done properly.

You can learn a lot about people in this period and it can be a good way to identify early on those who may fit in really well or perhaps not (it’s important it doesn’t feel this is the reason you are having the conversation though).

Hire the right people (and let the wrong people go) – Kind of obvious, but as you build the company you need to ensure your culture and values are a big part of your recruitment process.

Ask the candidate interesting questions which will generate discussion around some of your values (preferably before you tell them what they are). Try and get them to talk about how they have acted in certain situations.

It’s really about clever questioning here. Ideally you want to be identifying people who are naturally aligned to your culture and values aswell as weeding out those who aren’t.

Mistakes get made at the recruitment level, it happens. So if you find yourself hiring someone who doesn’t share your values, have the conversation as early as possible. Discuss it candidly and be open minded about how to resolve it.

But, if that person is truly not naturally aligned with your values, make the tough call – always.

And remember, responsibility for making the wrong decision falls with you, so be fair to the individual.

Last point on hiring. Take extra care when hiring leaders and managers.

As mentioned above, the key to keeping hold of your culture and values as you scale is relying on your leadership at all levels to set the right example and be ambassadors. If you make several mistakes here, you can get yourself into trouble quickly and it will be hard to reverse.

Don’t try too hard – Whilst you can follow all of the advice above, it shouldn’t feel like hard work and most of it should happen organically and naturally. If you know what your values are, talk about them often, lead by example and hire the right people in, things will fall into place.

If it feels like a slog or you feel in a bad place, take a pause. It will almost always be an issue with the above fundamentals.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t fall into the trap of looking for short fixes or gimmicks. A larger culture poster isn’t going to fix a significant culture problem. You need to go back to the fundamentals and almost always, leaders of the organisation need to look inwards at themselves.

Think about culture and values early on – I’ll wrap up with one final point and that is, it’s never too early to spend time thinking about the culture you want to create and values you want to see from people.

If you have a start up, don’t make the mistake to think it can wait until you are bigger, it may be too late then.

It takes an enormous effort and commitment to change a culture once you’re some way down a road that you didn’t want to go down. And it’s not always possible to completely rectify.

It really does require ten times the effort to turn the ship, than just get it pointing in the right direction to start.

I get that a startup needs a laser focus on building their product or service, so I’m not suggesting spending loads of time on it.

But, time spent on defining your values and on hiring the right people that fit in with them early on, is well worth it.

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The Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness in Everyday Life (and how to do it for yourself)

Meditation has always been something I’ve been interested in, I just couldn’t ever get into it properly.

meditation1

I’d feel too uncomfortable when I was sitting. It didn’t seem to matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t able to quieten my mind. And to top it off, I couldn’t see any tangible results.

So, I’d normally give up a few minutes into a session and after a few days of practicing meditation.

What changed for me recently was firstly a couple of posts from Brad Feld (Learning to Meditate and Book: Get Some Headspace) which motivated me to give things another go. I also started using Headspace which is awesome. Lastly, I made meditation a part of my new morning routine and it’s starting to become a habit (I have meditated for 14 consecutive days now).

For me, using Headspace was instrumental – from there everything just seemed to click into gear and make sense. I’ve now completed the ‘take 10’ series and am working through ‘take 15’ and am finding myself looking forward to each session and enjoying it. I’m also now starting to see the benefits in my everyday life (many of which just seem to be happening naturally and without effort).

Here are a few of the benefits I’m noticing already:

When I meditate in the morning, I start the day off with a sense of calm and focus. This can make a big difference to how the early part of my day goes, which influences the rest of the day.

I’m much more conscious of my thoughts and internal dialogue throughout the day – to the point where I can connect how they drive my emotions. When you’re conscious of your internal thoughts, you also start to question their validity (it’s funny how ludicrous and made up some of them are) or sometimes simply just take a step back from them. This has a big impact on how I feel and the state of my mind throughout the day.

I’m becoming more patient (I’m naturally quite impatient) – particularly because of the above.

It has helped lower some anxiety I’ve been having lately.

I’m starting to make better decisions as to what is important and what isn’t. I’m not sure exactly why, I just seem to have better clarity in my thoughts and for what feels right and not so right.

One of the biggest things I’ve noticed is that I’m more present, even in the smallest of things – washing hands, opening doors, eating, walking, talking to people etc. I’m not rushing around so much on autopilot and I’m savouring the moment more.

It seems weird to be think about being present and savouring the moment when it comes to something like washing our hands. However, when you do, you realise how much calmer you feel and how many moments and sensations you miss by rushing through things.

I’m appreciating myself more and feel a higher sense of self worth and confidence. Again, I’m not exactly sure why, I just am.

I’m being kinder and nicer to people, I feel more compassion for others naturally and am starting to think about how I can help.

I’m noticing myself feeling more grateful for the many things I experience and have in life.

I know that sounds like a lot of benefits to see in such a short time. Even in writing this post, I have surprised myself at how much of an impact mediating and being more mindful is having on me.

So, you want a piece of the action?

I’m not going to sit here and claim to be an expert on meditation and mindfulness.

The truth is I’m still figuring things out and it’s early days. However, below are a few pointers for getting into meditation and having more mindfulness in your life:

  • Download the headspace app and do the ‘take ten’ series.
  • Let go of any expectation from meditation. As soon as you do this, it’s funny how the results start to show up. This isn’t easy of course. Try to see it as just ten or fifteen minutes out of your day and then forget about it and get on with the rest of your day.
  • Meditate in the morning and make it part of a morning routine. This will help you be consistent, a large factor in being able to see results.
  • Don’t overcomplicate mediation and being more mindful. Sometimes it can just be sitting down with a book, going for a walk, drinking some tea or connecting with a friend. The key is to be totally with what you’re doing. No phone, no laptop, no TV – just be in the moment with what you’re doing.
  • When trying to be more present and mindful, if you notice yourself being distracted (perhaps you get tempted to check your phone or think about something you need to do later in the day), don’t beat yourself up about it – just return your focus and carry on.
  • Disconnect. Leave your phone at home from time to time. Turn off your modem. Get out there and experience life without being connected. You might be amazed at how good this feels.

And with that, I am off to walk the dogs in the sun 😉

Thanks to Jess Ratcliffe and Paul Clough for reading drafts of this.

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