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Breathing Space: Living and Working at a Comfortable Pace

Is the crushing burden of information and communication overload dragging you down? By day's end, do you feel overworked, overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted? Would you like to be more focused, productive, and competitive, while remaining balanced and in control?

Author Jeff Davidson says, "If you're continually facing too much information, too much paper, too many commitments, and too many demands, you need Breathing Space."


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Recommended Reading
Jeff Davidson: Simpler Living

Jeff Davidson: Breathing Space

Jeff Davidson: Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Things Done

Jeff Davidson: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Managing Your Time

Larry Rosen and Michelle Weil: Technostress

Mark Victor Hansen: Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul

Sam Horn: Conzentrate

Patricia O'Gorman: Dancing Backwards In High Heels

James Davison Hunter: The Death of Character

John D. Drake: Downshifting

David Md Viscott: Emotional Resilience

Alan Lakein: How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life

Scott Adams: The Joy of Work

Don Aslett: Keeping Work Simple

Jeff Davidson: The 60 Second Organizer

Jeff Davidson: The 60 Second Self-Starter

Recommended Blogs


Breathing Space Blog

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Choice Galore and Their Consequences - Breathing Space Blog

For too many people, an abundance of choices has become a curse, not a blessing. In the 1984 movie Moscow on the Hudson, the late Robin Williams portrays a Russian defector who settles in New York. He goes to the supermarket to buy some coffee. The markets he knew in Moscow were small and poorly lit. The Manhattan supermarket is dazzling. The coffee display overwhelms him – there is instant, freeze dried, dark brew, etc., in boxes, cans, and jars of different sizes and colors.

Confronted with all these choices, he has an anxiety attack, faints, falls forward, and knocks over the whole display. That scene got a big laugh, but it makes a point about our lives – too many choices. I suggests that you avoid engaging in low level decisions. If a toothbrush is available in red or green, and it's all the same to you, just grab the closest one.

Whenever you catch yourself making a low level decision, consider: does this really make a difference? Get in the habit of making only a few choices a day – the ones that count.

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Sunday, February 09, 2020

Regain Your Time - Breathing Space Blog

Here is an excerpt of an insightful article by William J. Doherty appearing UU World September/October 2004, called “Let's Take Back our Time”:

“Welcome to the strange new world where being home for dinner is a radical act. For three decades a new spiritual and social justice issue has been arising in our culture and our congregations, but we've been too busy to notice it. It's the problem of time: over-work, over-scheduling, and a chronic sense of hurry. We have become the most productive and the most time-starved people on earth...”

“This is a spiritual issue as well as a social justice issue.... Over-busyness has spiritual effects. Every spiritual tradition emphasizes the importance of silence and repose; most have some form of Sabbath and seasons of reflection. Our culture of busyness is antithetical to the spiritual life. The Trappist monk Thomas Merton expressed it well in Confessions of Guilty Bystander:

There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence, and that is activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of this innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone and everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

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Sunday, February 02, 2020

Racing the Clock? - Breathing Space Blog

A reader laments, "No matter how conscious I am of saving time throughout the day, I still find myself racing the clock. What, if anything, am I doing wrong?"

* Consider the following example: any one-hour activity that you undertake in the course of the day will consume one solid year out of the next 24 years of your life. One hour is to 24 hours as one year is to 24 years.

* With this realization, consider the cumulative effects of reading junk mail for only 30 minutes a day or spending 15 minutes a day in line at the bank – both of which could be avoided if you used mail, phone, or email services.

* Obviously there are some things that you couldn't or wouldn't want to give up and it is silly to apply this kind of arithmetic to activities such as personal hygiene.

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Promise of Sleep - Breathing Space Blog

In The Promise of Sleep pioneer researcher William C. Dement, MD, Ph.D. noted that "Many people work long hard hours throughout the week hoping to catch up on sleep over the weekend. They collapse in the bed on Friday night and sleep deeply until late in the morning. "

"Even though they have paid back several hours of sleep debt, they walk around like zombies all day Saturday, barely able to stay awake. The reason is obvious: you cannot pay back a weeks worth of sleep debt in one night. Less obvious: the stressful arousal of the weekday work place is no longer masking sleep debt on Saturday. As people tend to drink and eat more on weekends, their sleep fighting arousal is further suppressed."

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A Deviance Advantage - Breathing Space Blog

Below are some notes I gleaned from a book with an unusual perspective:

Deviance Advantage: How Fringe Ideas Create Mass Markets
by Mathews, Wenty, and Wacker (Crown Books)

* Over the past several  years deviance, not reasoning, began to drive the social and commercial agenda. The result? Things that we found pungent only yesterday we lionize today.

* Deviance migrates from the fringe to the social convention, rapidly creating markets, and changing the rules of the social and commercial game.

* The pace of change has picked up to the point where the functional distance between the fringe and social convention is all but disappeared.

* Markets form and dissolve in unanticipated places and in record rates. Yesterday's pariah is tomorrow's market darling, and what was once beyond the social pale is suddenly a hot commodity.

* The pace of deviant change is so intense and so relentless that we are beginning to witness compound deviance. The rules of the game keep changing before we have a chance to write them down.

Jeff's comments It all seems kind of sad, doesn't it? Deviance rules, whereas goodness, purity, and wholesomeness are on the fringe. I hope society, and the popular media in particular, wake up soon.

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Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Times Have Changed! - Breathing Space Blog

In 1904:

* The average life expectancy is 47 years.

* 14% of homes have a bathtub.

* 8% of homes have a telephone.

* A three-minute call from Denver to New York cost $11.

* There are 8,000 cars in the U.S. and 144 miles of paved roads.

* The maximum speed limit in most cities is 10 miles per hour.

* With a 1.4 million residents, California is the 21st most populous state.

* Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee are each more heavily populated than California.

Okay, all the above seem archaic.  Would you trade it, however, for a slower simpler life?

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Thursday, January 02, 2020

2020: Technology Bill of Rights - Breathing Space Blog

The Independent Worker's Technology Bill of Rights established by Larry Rosen Ph.D. and Michelle Weil Ph.D. in their classic book Technostress is well worth perusing in 2020.

Technology, say the authors puts independent workers in the driver's seat, so to speak. But it can create such dependency that it may even lead to questioning one's own creativity and capabilities. To keep technology in it's proper perspective, declare your independence;

         The Independent Worker's Technology Bill of Rights

 1. I am the boss, not my technology.

 2. Technology is available to help me express my creativity.

 3. I decide when to use the tools technology provides.

 4. I have the right to choose what technology to use and what to put aside.

 5. I can use technology to stay connected, informed, and productive -- my way.

 6. Technology offers a world of information. I get to choose what information

 7. Technology will pose problems, but I will be prepared to handle them.

 8. Technology can work 24-hour days, but I can choose when to begin and
    when to stop working.

 9. Technology never needs to rest, but I do.

10. I can work successfully by enforcing my boundary needs.

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