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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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Jeff Presenting:

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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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hazardous to Your Health: Noise - Breathing Space Blog

"Noise Busters" by Richard and Joyce Wolkomir writing in Smithsonian Magazine said, "Natural quiet is now preserved in only 7% of Arizona's Grand Canyon national park and nowhere in Hawaii's volcano's National Park."

"Among city dwelling Americans, 87% are exposed to noise so loud it has the potential to degrade hearing capacity over time. But you will not necessarily find piece in the suburbs or country side either, not with the onslaught of leaf blowers, snow blowers, lawn mowers, chain saws, snow mobiles, power boats, and all terrain vehicles.

They went on to say, "Researchers have demonstrated that noise can raise your blood pressure and change your blood chemistry. Adrenaline levels can rise, indicating the imposition of stress."

Did you know that "noise" referring to unwanted sound is derived from the Latin word for nausea? In 1997 Automobile traffic was 360% of 1960 levels, while large truck traffic was 430% of 1960 levels. Airliner travel in 1998 was 600% of 1960 levels and air cargo traffic was 2460% of 1960 levels.  Today, across the board, noise levels are even higher.

In 1960 there were no leaf blowers, no jet skis, no car alarms, and few snowmobiles. Noise on one side of a school has been shown to diminish children's test scores, compared with that of children on the other side of the school in a relatively noise free zone, who otherwise have the same academic capabilities and demographic profile.

Noise. Who needs it?

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

No More 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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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Over-Choice and It 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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Monday, November 09, 2015

Regaining our 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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Monday, November 02, 2015

"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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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

When Overtime Kills - Breathing Space Blog

A study years back by a medical research council in the UK indicated that, of 7,000 healthy, middle-aged government employees over a 12 year study, those who reported working 11-hour days were 67% more likely to incur a heart attack than those who worked 7 to 8 hours. Those who worked 10-hour days were 45% more likely to incur a heart attack than more moderately-working peers.

While it is not certain precisely why excessive overtime harms the heart, unlike smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, one's work habits are an indicator of heart health. Possibly, excessive overtime, in addition to lack of exercise, too much stress, too little sleep, unhealthy eating, or depression, contributes to an overall pattern of high risk for heart attack.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Staying Fresh and Vibrant - Breathing Space Blog

I know people who will take courses on topics completely out of their field, who try new dishes at restaurants, and who strive to keep themselves open to new ideas. You can do all kinds of new and different activities in your personal life that will serve to stimulate your creativity at work, to help you break free of attachment, and to help you overcome the inertia of immobility when you want to get things done.

Here are a few ideas:

At work:
* Take a planned 15-minute break twice daily
* Eat away from your desk
* Brainstorm with people not in your department
* Furnish your workspace with plants, pictures, or art that inspires you
* Learn some aspect of the organization that is completely foreign to you

Away from work:
* Change your magazine subscriptions
* Read a literary novel or epic
* Dress differently for different occasions
* Relax on your porch
* Install a hammock in your backyard

In general, to develop your awareness:
* Take an impromptu weekend trip to someplace you haven't visited
* Enroll in a course
* Join a book discussion group
* Volunteer at a charity
* Take up a new sport

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