I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways in which my own patterns hold me back. The fear I have, the shame, the need to protect myself. All of the practices I have been doing, as a yoga teacher, a coach-in-training, and in my personal life have been leading me towards a new effort of practicing relaxed, being present and open in all parts of my life. As I learn to move away from compulsion and towards regular structures that are different and help me live my life in a different way- my shape is changing.
Over the past month, I’ve been trying two new practices around email– leanmail– a system for managing email created by the Action Mill and five sentences – a system of limiting email replies to five sentences or less.
I’ve noticed a few things from both of these practices. The level of compulsion I have to check my email is LARGE (and feels like it is in charge). By containing this desire to (mostly) two blocks of email effort a day- it helps me to reply in a more timely fashion, create a list of emails I need to send, obsess less while waiting for specific replies. By limiting my emails to short replies, I realize how much I tend to use email to blah blah and not have the real conversations I need to by phone or in person.
It also gives me uninterrupted blocks of time to be working on other projects. Whereas in the past I would have been taking breaks every hour or hour (or to be honest more frequently then that,) I now have many large blocks throughout the day to work on projects, think bigger and create new space and ideas for myself.
Especially when I’m traveling, the desire and habit to check my inbox at any transition point, getting on an off a train, plane, arriving in a location, when I end a meeting- feels almost over-whelming. Re-teaching myself to look up, notice the trees blooming in Seattle or New York, make eye-contact and connect with the people around me has been a bigger reward then getting the latest buzzfeed list off of facebook (even if it does feel particularly relevant to my life. I can always check it later. And now I’m working on facebook time-blocks too. 🙂
This Thursday, I’m co-hosting an event in New York with the Action Mill and Organizing 2.0— Organizers and Change-makers- Not Martyrs, which will explore these and other questions more deeply. I hope you will join us and keep this conversation going online and in our lives.