Tag Archives | inspiration

How to Unblock Your Flow for Optimal Productivity

Photo courtesy of Drew Coffman

For optimal professional productivity in our lives, we must be in a free “flow state” – which essentially means that we love what we are doing. Time flies when your flow is open and your creativity is sparked.  Everything else in your world becomes background noise as you focus in on the task at hand.

As a writer, when I experience a loss of flow, it’s called “writer’s block,” but this problem definitely presents itself in a wide variety of professions.  Even what appear to be the most mundane and routine jobs and tasks can be engaging and fun as long as you enjoy what you do.

To develop good flow and to keep it unblocked, you’ll need to have clear professional goals, good concentration skills, an established pattern of feedback, and the appropriate skill level to accomplish what you’ve set out to do.

Tips to Open Your Flow:
Always have a conclusion in mind. (When will your task be “finished?”)
Stay focused by practicing concentration every day. (Form a healthy, positive habit.)
Know where you can get reliable feedback.
Stop while you’re ahead (or excited.)
+
Find a new location, even if it means simply moving to another desk for awhile.
Unformat your regular task process and come at it from another direction.
Never forget to have fun! As soon as the fun stops, your flow becomes blocked.
=
Find new ways to constantly challenge yourself.
Love what you do.
Open your thoughts. Live and work mindfully.
Work productively, feel satisfied, and be happy.

 

Comments { 0 }

23 Impressive Sights to Mindfully Experience

Photo courtesy of Pic Fix

I recently took a weekend trip to Washington, D.C. with my newfound dedication to living mindfully. It was, without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable vacations of my life, and I credit that to the fact that I remained focused on staying in the moment at all times. My mind was blown by the number of things I had never noticed about the city before. I took immense pleasure from simply sitting on a bench that overlooked the Potomac River. I made a conscious effort to experience each moment for what it had to offer, without looking toward the future and what was next on our itinerary.

The satisfaction we can gain by mindfully approaching a wide variety of sense-stimulating destinations can significantly enhance and enrich our life experiences. Here are some excellent places to test your ability to live mindfully:

1. New York’s Central Park in the fall

2. The Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC

3. The view from the Eiffel Tower at night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


4. Lucy the Elephant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Dachau Concentration Camp

6. Lavender Fields in France at sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Portland’s Japanese Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Machu Piccu

9. Times Square on New Year’s Eve

10. The view of Bora Bora from the Thalasso Spa Resort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. The frozen waterfalls in Pamukkale, Turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Longwood Gardens at Christmastime

13. A redwood tree in California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. Mardis Gras

15. Ka Tao beach, Thailand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16. Miami Beach

17. Yellowstone National Park in the winter

18. The Black Forest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. The tomb of Christopher Columbus in Seville, Spain

20. Niagara Falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21. The Met

22. One World Trade Center

23. The Statue of Liberty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits:
3. Geofftheref
4. Amy_Kearns
6. Vainsang
7. ahp_ibanez
10. Pierre Lesage
11. Armando Lodi
13. Drburtoni
15. Narisa
18. LinksmanJD
20. ipeters61
23.
photosinframes

 

 

Comments { 3 }

How to Play When the Deck is Stacked Against You


Photo courtesy of ccarlstead

During my chiropractic appointment today, I got to talking with the good doc about the condition of my spine and the fact that most of the joints in my body are degenerating prematurely due to Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. After we briefly discussed my diagnosis, he sat down quite abruptly and said, “I can always tell within 5 minutes of meeting someone whether they are going to let their problems overtake them or if they are going to rise up and live life in spite of them. Adrienne – you are a determined person and you have a realistic attitude toward your condition. Embrace your problems and resolve to enjoy your life anyway.”

Of course, he’s right, but it is easy for anyone to lose focus when any part of your life is dragging you down and it seems like the world is against you. Regardless of the nature of your struggles, there is a lot you can do to move toward enjoying your life again, and it’s not as simple as having a good attitude! Although it can be difficult to stay motivated and engaged in life when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, one thing you definitely do NOT want to do is to adopt the “woe is me” approach. You might not always feel positively thrilled with the circumstances of your life, but try to steer clear of drowning in self-pity. This step alone will keep you afloat while you try to adapt your life accordingly.

Be proactive. Make a clear plan that sets out the goals you hope to achieve, whether personal, physical, emotional, or professional.  Be sure that you have specific goals and a clear plan of action that will allow you to accomplish them. Difficult times test our motivation levels, and staying focused on the end game will push you to persevere even when you really don’t want to.  Choose to spend your time with people who buoy your self-confidence and don’t bring you down further.  Eliminate “problem people” from your life and surround yourself with those who make you feel understood and encouraged during hard times.

As I have learned, sometimes life is less about trading in your cards and more about accepting the hand you have been dealt.  No matter what life has thrown at you, believe in yourself.   Have confidence that you can move through life and enjoy the awesome parts to the fullest. And, instead of battling your inner demons, hold hands with them and invite them along for the ride.

Comments { 3 }

How Building Upon Existing Ideas Can Lead You to Greatness

lightbulb
Photo courtesy of Ramunas Geciauskas

Most of us are familiar with those boxes of jumbled text on web forms – officially called reCAPTCHAs – that are used to tell humans apart from spam bots. They’re a necessary (albeit slightly annoying) level of protection on sites such as Ticketmaster, where a computer could attempt to hack in and order thousands of pairs of tickets in a row. But the other day I came across a video that revealed the full functionality of reCAPTCHA, and how it built upon its predecessor to make something far more useful. Which then got me to thinking – how easy is it to build upon existing ideas?

As Luis von Ahn, creator of CAPTCHA, put it in his recent TED presentation, there’s a load of potential energy and brainpower that can be harnessed out there. While discussing how he and his team repurposed CAPTCHA to help in the digitization of books, von Ahn pressed upon a really interesting topic for me – how do you make people do a job for free without even realizing they’re being productive?

That was the spark that led to the formation of reCAPTCHA – a security system that uses human-typed responses to help digitize books. Each time you fill out one of those text boxes on a web form, you’re actually identifying a word from a scanned image that has been taken from an existing print book. Humans have a far greater ability to decipher words from images that are slightly askew than, say, a computer dictionary, (the very reason for reCAPTCHA’s effectiveness as a spam bot detector) so it takes a human set of eyes to translate some older books from cover to cover.

According to von Ahn, people were collectively spending 500,000 hours a day filling out CAPTCHA boxes, and he saw the potential for something more useful. reCAPTCHA is currently digitizing the archives of The New York Times as well as books from Google Books, and utilizing the input of over 100 million CAPTCHAs every day.

In the digital age, we are surrounded by opportunities to improve upon systems that are already set in place. Some have argued that Facebook, for instance, simply built upon the idea of online journaling; and Netflix, then, is offering the same media rental service that Blockbuster was a few years ago, only in a way that is more appropriate and convenient for the current times. Sometimes we just need to look at ideas that are right in front of us to see the potential for greatness.

Comments { 0 }