Q: what techniques do you *actually* still use, two years on?

Since I quit my Sunday Life column I’ve been asked by many of you what tricks and techniques acquired along the way are still part of my life repertoire. As in, the things that actually worked and stuck. In all fairness, I’ve stuck to about 1/3 of the concepts I played with. Which is not a bad stat, really. I mean, there’s only so many techniques you can take on in a day! In a lifetime!

Picture 15 Q: what techniques do you *actually* still use, two years on?
photo via trendhunter

Here are some of my favourites, which I reckon you might like to try…a new year on it’s way and all.

1. I go Pomodoro

Developed in the 90s by an Italian efficiency enthusiast, it’s recently experienced a surge of popularity. It’s stupidly simple. You pick a task and take one of those kitschly 90s red tomato kitchen timers and set it to 25 minutes. Next, churn through your task, ignoring distractions, not stopping to make tea or stare at the ceiling. Rest for 5 minutes and repeat the cycle three more times, after which you rest for a good half hour and grab lunch or read emails. The aim is to work to these 30-minute cycles daily, building up the self-discipline muscle. Read more here.

2. I use a virtual assistant

A VA is someone you hire online to help you with stuff you’re, quite frankly, over doing. People use them to help with their kids’ homework (which I find sad), to manage their diaries, to transcribe stuff…a guy hired a freelancer to plant a stink bomb outside his mate’s place on the other side of the planet!

A VA, though, is perfect for blog help. You can hire someone to transcribe, tag, format, design, upload your posts and videos and images, copy edit (and spell check) posts, manage the comments, do all your social media interconnecting, manage your SEOs (and simply do all the stuff that you need to do to optimise traffic…which does my head in, personally), research stuff, write stuff…pretty much run the whole bloody thing…which is what a lot of corporates and doctors etc do. Read the full article here.

3. Every day I “rest intentionally

Reading in a hammock is resting. A rare afternoon nap is resting. But since I had the time – and was completely, right-down-to-the-calluses-on-my-big-toe  buggered from the year that was – I sunk into the topic deeper to find the best way to reallyrest.

Which is how I came upon Intentional Resting, a technique developed by Dan Howard after years of trying to find a simple tool “even truck drivers can use”. Howard lives in Utah and “rides mules in the mountains” and wears the expression of a toddler who’s just woken from a nap. We chat on Skype and he talks me through IR. It works like this (you can do it with me now or watch the video at intentionalresting.com): close your eyes and find somewhere in your body or mind where you’re feeling tension or pain. Me, it’s in my neck. Focus on this spot. Now try to fix it. It doesn’t work, right. Now try ignoring it. Again, the tension’s still there. OK, now try saying to yourself, gently, “I’m resting for my neck now”. Hold this awareness for about 30 seconds. Then feel into your body. Read the full article here.


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