Can the Simple Pursuit of Total Boredom Make You Smarter?

Can the Simple Pursuit of Total Boredom Make You Smarter?

Can the Simple Pursuit of Total Boredom Make You Smarter?

When I was a kid, around six million years ago, we had lots of time to be bored. There were no play dates, our parents didn’t drive us to ballet lessons, and our play was mostly unstructured. Sitting or lying around with nothing to do was a common occurrence. We didn’t have all the distractions that not just children, but adults have now. And by the way, I count myself in this group of people who now have no time to be bored.

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Too Busy to Be Bored?

Think about it. When was the last time someone said: “I’m bored.” At least, someone who’s not a teenager. People saying they’re bored have been replaced by people who say they’re too busy. Everyone’s too busy! And it’s usually followed by, “that’s a good thing, right?” But is it a good thing really? After all, we have YouTube, podcasts, online gaming, social media, and a million other things to entertain us now.

What If You Had Time to Be Bored?

How different would your life be if you had time to pursue boredom? By that, I mean having breaks in your day and in your life. Recently, I was at a friend’s house, knitting (a hobby I’ve taken up recently). There was no music and no background noise at all. And there were some long silences. Maybe it’s because we’re all introverts, but everyone seemed really comfortable with the lack of distractions and yes, the boredom. By the way, you might enjoy this article about introverts: Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends. But those long silences made me realize how unusual it is to have long silences at all anymore.

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The Focus on Mindfulness

Over the past few years, there’s been a real focus on mindfulness. Meditation and yoga classes have been sprouting up all over the place. So now we’ve scheduled the time to just sit, or to sit and stretch, or to meditate. Is it any coincidence that the focus on mindfulness comes when we’re so very busy all the time? Did you know that the number of people doing yoga grew by 50% between 2012 and 2016? That’s quite a staggering increase and maybe we should all be investing in yoga stock!

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The Question of the Day

The really important question is whether the pursuit of boredom can make you smarter. Many studies have shown that taking time out to meditate can make you smarter. Perhaps there is a correlation. According to Robert Puff, Ph.D, in this article in Psychology Today, Meditation Can Make You Smarter (and Happier). His article is a summary of articles about the subject.

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Work-Life Balance

What things do you do to achieve work-life balance? Is work-life balance really the unicorn of the working world? And do you ever add in some unstructured time to your schedule? Or just not stuff it to the gills all the time? It might be worth the peace of mind.

See Why Work-Life Balance is the Unicorn of the Working World

See Why Work-Life Balance is the Unicorn of the Working World

See Why Work-Life Balance is the Unicorn of the Working World

Work-life balance is one of those phrases that people with way too much time on their hands talk about. Usually they have their own yoga studios, grow all their own food, and can afford really swell vacations on Martha’s Vineyard. And that’s not even a generalization!

 

When Is There Ever Balance?

When Is There Ever Balance?

When Is There Ever Balance?

Never, that’s when! This is the week of Easter and tax returns. Many people with businesses are filing at the last minute instead of being involved in an Easter egg hunt. Unless, of course, you call looking for business deductions in a huge pile of receipts an Easter egg hunt. Then, yes, there’s an Easter egg hunt.

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We Strive for Balance

We dream of balance during those nights when we don’t sleep enough because we were up late worrying about whether everything for that upcoming conference got finished. Was there one last person to call, or a piece of paper that didn’t make it to the right place?

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Finding Time

By the way, if you need to find a little more time, here’s my article on Social Media: Time Management for Busy Entrepreneurs that you might like. Finding a bit of time here and there in your day can be cause for celebration!

Vacations Are for Sissies

If you’re involved in a startup, do you ever really go on vacation? Or is your idea of time off working a couple of hours less on the days you’re strolling on the beach? And speaking of strolling on the beach, here’s a brilliant idea from Forbes: Want a Brilliant Idea for a Startup? Go on Vacation!

“…ideas emerge when someone frees their mind up to wander – this often doesn’t happen in day to day life,”
~ Jessica Livingston, founding partner Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s best known incubator

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You Can Sleep When You’re Dead

Who among us has not heard this pithy bumpersticker-sized statement? Startups have a reputation for fueling sleep deprivation. Startups have also begun to fuel new ideas about sleep, as outlined in this nifty article: How Tech Startups Are Waking Up the Sleep Industry. In fact, new startup Cereve has a Sleep System to cool the forehead and soothe “a racing mind.” Something many in the startup world suffer from.

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Is Balance Possible?

How have you created balance? While I’d love to believe in unicorns, maybe we are better off believing they don’t exist. Or are we all resigned to being comfortable being uncomfortable? Tell me in the comments! And thank you.

Social Media: Time Management for Busy Entrepreneurs

Social Media: Time Management for Busy Entrepreneurs

Social Media: Time Management for Busy Entrepreneurs

One of the top ten questions (maybe top five questions) I get from entrepreneurs is “How do I make time for social media?” You’re busy running your business–making your widgets, preparing for your next class, or creating a new menu. How the heck do you have time for social media on top of everything else? I’m not going to say it’s magic, because it’s certainly work, but there are some ways to minimize the work and maximize your efforts. After all, you want to keep some balance in your daily life, right?

Create a Daily Strategy

Before you ever open Twitter, set foot on Pinterest, or enter the halls of Facebook, make sure you know what you’re going to do. One thing I do as a daily strategy is spend fourteen minutes planning each day. Writing everything down with an old-school pen or pencil on paper is the most helpful for me. After the brain dump, I go back and prioritize everything. Do this before everything else, and I promise your day will be much smoother.

Decide Which Platform Will Be Your Starting Point

For me, I usually start on Twitter, but your starting point might be different. Click on notifications, and see who’s mentioned, retweeted, or tagged you. Then I go to Facebook, post something, engage with people for a bit, then head over to Pinterest. Of course, your social media posts and engagement have to fit in between all your other work.

See How Much Time You Have

If you only have an hour, total, for social media, divide that hour up accordingly. So maybe 20 minutes for each of three platforms for the day. Use a timer–I like an old-school egg timer because the ticking sound keeps me on track, but you could use the timer on your smart phone, too. If you don’t like the one you have, here’s a good article from the New York Times about timers. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you know you only have 15 or 20 minutes.

Engage, but Don’t Dive Down Any Rabbit Holes

By this, I mean, don’t get distracted by “Top Ten Best Mojito Recipes for a Rainy Day” or that DIY article on how to turn a pallet into an actual working car that you see on Pinterest. Because the road to social media hell is definitely paved with pallets and mason jars. Be especially vigilant of “friendly fire.” That is, friends posting pretty videos of cats being rescued by dogs. A little personal stuff is fine, but don’t spend hours watching those videos. You know the drill.

When You’re Done, Get Out!

Social Media Time Management

Social Media Time Management

Here’s the important part. When the clock rings or beeps, get out. You don’t have to respond in depth to everyone who writes to you. Sometimes a one-word answer is fine. Thank people who retweeted you, say something quickly, and then move on. That clock is still ticking! Leave some time in your day so you can take a hike or go for a walk.

Is Your Social Media Overwhelming?

Hire somebody to help! You might want to read about the top ten questions to ask a Social Media Manager. And of course (ahem!) I know someone who might be able to help you.

 

 

WordCamp Orange County 2014: Awesome Moments

WordCamp Orange County 2014: Awesome Moments

WordCamp Orange County 2014: Awesome Moments

Recently, I attended WordCamp Orange County 2014, not to be confused with WordCamp Orange County 2013. Here are a few of my favorite moments.

The Women

Mary Baum’s class on responsive design was Sunday’s funniest seminar. She kept us entertained while educating us on design challenges. And apparently, she loves golf!

Chris Lema

Chris Lema helped make the conference a community. He followed his own advice of being helpful. Getting the Most from Your Blog was definitely not about any get-rich quick schemes. Chris Lema set the tone for much of the conference.

Live Tweeting

You may have read my blog post about Live Tweeting at Conferences. Live tweeting is a fab way to connect with new friends. In fact, two of my besties (Bridget Willard and Peter Woolvett) were both people I met through Twitter. Some people we met couldn’t believe you could actually meet people from Twitter. Who knew? And here’s a partial hashtag report, in case you think live tweeting doesn’t make a difference in amplifying an event.

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Offsite Meetups

Offsite Meetups at WCOC 2014

Offsite Meetups at WCOC 2014

Another favorite moment was going to Café Vitaly with friends for extra-strong doses of coffee or the best sorbet and gelato around. Strolling on the beach, walking back from the Durty Nelly’s after party, and seeing some unusual trees (and giant cockroaches) along the way were also good ways to “play hooky.”

Jason Rosenbaum’s Business Coaching Workshop on Contracts and Proposals

Jason Rosenbaum’s talk was surprisingly useful. As a result of hearing his talk, I’ll be changing how I word some of my proposals. For instance, no more 100% guarantees—especially if clients want to “do it themselves.” Good, solid advice.

Slide Presentations and Videos at the Speed of Light

As we watched on Twitter, the presentations started to appear online. Many presenters uploaded their talks even before the weekend was over. How awesome is that?

Food Trucks

Gourmet food trucks, with items like Coconut Risotto (A Bite Truck), Mexican food, and bacon (of course!). Worth the wait. Also the gourmet mini-cupcakes, Skittles, and gluten-free brownies.

Artwork at Cafe Vitaly

Artwork at Cafe Vitaly

Style Revisions

Derived straight from the creatives at Minecraft, WordCamp’s new direction feels somewhere between Super Mario and Flappy Birds.

The style is everywhere, from the giant mugs and t-shirts to notebooks, stickers, and buttons!

Chance Meetings

Meeting people like Justin @student_otc at one of the first talks, connecting online with @DownTownRob who met me and my friends at Durty Nelly’s. Meeting attendees and speakers while waiting in line.

Generosity and Friendliness at WordCamp Orange County

Generosity and Friendliness at WordCamp Orange County

Generosity and Friendliness

Without the volunteers and sponsors, WordCamp Orange County would not have been such a success.

Finding Work/Life Balance As a Remote Worker

Jon Brown’s  course outlined ways to stay sane while working remotely. And he was even more fun when he went off-script and discussed all the tools he uses (such as electronic devices to bring while backpacking!).

Did I Leave Anything Out?

What were your favorite moments?

 

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