💎 Friday Gems #38 (Open your eyes, Attention, Brag Document)
Find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
As 2023 comes to a close it’s time for a quick reflection on the year. My word for 2023 was “prolific”, which didn’t exactly happen but I was more consistent than before, so I’ll take it as a win. Overall I feel like I’m growing as a writer and my writing and process have improved, hopefully you agree. :)
Thanks for being a part of the Low Fidelity journey.
How about you? What went well for you this year? What did you learn? What challenges did you overcome? Take a moment to jot down your thoughts for a quick reflection to appreciate how far you have come.
Wishing you the best in 2024.
On to this week’s gems!
💎 Open Your Eyes
Deep within the ordinary, there is something extraordinarily charming about Chardin’s paintings. His work shows us that a normal situation can be captivating if you just pay it enough attention and pause to observe.
Instead of searching for the extraordinary to be inspired by, what if we noticed the ordinary, everyday moments right in front of us?
Whether it’s art, writing, or any other creative endeavor, the fleeting moments we are part of are full of inspiration if we only open our eyes to notice.
Right in front of me, I have my coffee mug, which is orange on the outside with lime green on the inside. It was a delicious cup of coffee, and I noticed the drips of coffee on the side going down in different lengths. This coffee mug is a big part of my morning routine and something I look forward to. I usually have two cups of coffee in the morning at predictably the same time each day, one first thing in the morning as I write my morning pages or my newsletter and the second once I start work.
As you can see, an ordinary coffee mug can provide inspiration to write and explore ideas from one to the next.
Try it out for yourself, and let me know how it goes.
⚡️ Action Tip: Look around and find one ordinary item wherever you are sitting. Take a few moments to write down to describe what you see in as much detail as possible. Explore the object using all your senses.
Source: Write of Passage
💎 An ancient technique can improve your attention span
Minds wander. It’s a natural thing that the brain does. When our mind moves away, gently return it back. Simply begin again.
- Amishi Jha
Attention is the new currency of our lives. Each day we are flooded with sights, sounds, and mental distractions that take us away from what we are doing in the present moment. While being distracted by the next shiny object may be inconvenient and seem like a defect within us, this behavior is a result of millions of years of evolutionary survival needs.
This is where the practice of mindfulness and meditation help us gently and without judgement bring our attention back into the present moment.
Through her lab research the author, Amishi Jha, PhD. and her team discovered the “minimum effective dose of mindfulness” to be 12 minutes or more per day for 5 days per week to objectively improve attention and meed.
I’ve been meaning to get back to my meditation practice and with this information I feel more motivated to get into the routine once again.
⚡️ Action Tip: Here are steps for a quick meditation you can start right away.
Close your eyes and relax
Take a deep breath deep from the belly for a count of five seconds
Hold the breath for a count of five
Exhale for a count of five and visualize the stress leaving your body through your breath.
If your mind wanders at any time during the mediation, gently bring it back without judgement or blame.
This is the practice to strengthen your attention so you can focus on the things that matter throughout the day. As you become comfortable with this meditation try increasing the time to reach the recommended 12 minutes.
Source: Big Think
💎 Get your work recognized: Write a brag document
Do you ever forget the amazing work you have done throughout the year? For me that’s a resounding yes. I always think I will remember but when it comes time for quarterly reflections at work I draw a blank and then panic as I search through my emails and the feedback I have received to remember some semblance of accomplishment. But now I will approach this conundrum with a plan because I hate being in that situation.
My new mantra is “I will make time to enter any accomplishment however small into my brag document!”
Keeping track of our great work is just as crucial and important as the work we do because it is proof of our learning and growth as well as being critical for promotions and new opportunities.
In her article Julia Evans breaks down the reasons why you need a brag document and provides examples of entries you can include in it. This activity doesn’t need to be a solitary effort either, as Julia suggests you can even get a group of coworkers together on a regular basis to add to your document.
Best of all, Julia provides a template for you to start with and then customize for your need.
This is one habit I will be working on going forward because of how important it is to see and show the growth and impact we make in our work.
⚡️ Action Tip: Create your brag document right now.
Decide where you will keep your document for easy retrieval.
Set a calendar invite to remind yourself to add to your document. I think every two weeks is a good starting point to build up the habit.
Add accountability and invite a coworker to a brag entry session to help make the habit stick.
I know I’m pumped up about this and I feel like this time I will bring more intention and purpose, as well as a good template to make it stick.
Source: Julia Evans
💎 A gem of a quote
“It’s the simple things in your life that make up the bulk of it. The mundane is where we live and we end up missing most of it. We find it again in the silence and in attention of everyday life.”
― Eric Overby
💎 Little Gems
Ataraxia - [at-uh-rak-see-uh] - tranquility of mind, a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety.
Want to set meaningful goals aligned to your values? Join Leo Babauta from Zen Habits for a live workshop.
Coffee, the surprising bone strengthener? More coffee please!
💜 I’m thankful that you read this far.
Have a fantastic weekend!