Readings on Mindfulness

Just a disclaimer – I am a Buddhist, so I tend to frame my thinking in Buddhist language. However I am not a religious Buddhist. The only reason that I identify as Buddhist is that the philosophies put forward by the Buddha resound with me, as do the ways that they are presented.

I firmly believe that Mindfulness is integral to any spiritual practice, and I personally feel that the Buddha explained it best.

That being said, here are a few highlights from my reading on this subject.

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To comment or not to comment

One of the trends that I personally have noticed is the removal of the ability to comment from articles on blogs. I’m not sure which camp I’m in,  so I decided to preform an experiment. I turned off comments on the last few articles that I have posted, just to see how that makes me feel.

Honestly, I feel like I’m missing something. I really feel like comments power three positive things – increased visibility for the commenters, discourse and article stickiness. I also understand the drawbacks – including trolling, spamming and all of the nastiness that comes with that. Also, you increase the surface of attack by opening up your site to comments.

I guess that I kind of miss the heyday of blogging for me – back in 2005 – 2007 when the comments flowed freely.

Since I hate making choices, I thought that I’d just open it up, turn on comments on this article and see if anyone actually has an opinion about it.

Inbox as a task list

So, yesterday I read this. It echoed a lot of how I approach my inbox as a task list, and some of the ideas there pushed my inbox-fu to black belt levels. However I work in a different environment then Keith does, with a lot more customer facing email. I’ve merged Keith’s ideas with my workflow, and have come up with a gmail centric inbox-fu which is agile, powerful, and above all easy.

First off you’ll need to get the tools that you will need. I use the wonderful boomerang to schedule things. You will also need to set your inbox to “starred first”:

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 8.35.52 AM

This will give you a good view into what you need to work on.

So, now that you have your workspace set up, you’ll need to start dealing with email. As Keith says “triage”. Deal with your email. If it’s going be more then a line or two of text, or 30 seconds to research, star it and forget it. If it’s a task that you need to follow up on later, boomerang it. If it’s none of the above, archive it. When you are done with your unstarred items, start on the bottom of your starred list and take the time to deal with them correctly.

I set aside a few times a day to deal with keeping up with my inbox. If I set aside time, I find that I’m not worrying about it as much. I also know that I can use downtime to catch up if I need to.

I think that the secret here is ruthless triage. You have to keep in mind that people’s feelings will not be hurt if you mute their email threads, or skim and archive them. Be a stone faced email killer. Only star the few things that you need to respond to, and archive everything else when you read it. I cannot stress that enough. If you wait a while, you will never do it. Now, excuse me while I archive the email that came in while I wrote this.

ABA (Always Be Archiving)


rss -> feedburner -> rss

I’m going to move away from Feedburner, as I am no longer confident in it’s long term viability. This is thanks to Google shutting down reader and moving everything towards the walled garden that is Google Plus. So, if you are one of the two or three people that still follow this blog via RSS, you’ll want to move to the feed at instead of any other. I will not be shutting off the feedburner anytime soon but that day is coming.

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The Hardest Thing

Today, I was blindsided by my 3 1/2 year old self. You see, when I was prying my 6 year old son off me, he was screaming “I don’t want to leave daddy!” and I was taken back to when I was 3 1/2. That is when, as far as I can recall, my mom and dad split. I really don’t remember what happened, but I was hit by a wave of emotion. From way back in the peanut gallery of my past selves. Abandonment, fear, pain, sadness. Uselessness. A feeling of things spiraling out of my control.

What can you tell him, other then “it will be ok”, even though you know from the emotional roller coaster you’re feeling 38 1/2 years later, that it’s not going to get better. That it will get different, but different is not always better.

The hardest thing was walking away from him today. Knowing that it was not my choice. Knowing that he would blame me. Knowing that I would give almost anything to have him back, but there was nothing that I could do but walk away.

Seeing my self walking away through my 3 1/2 year old eyes.