For pleasure and profit, try monotasking

Today we’re going to talk about monotasking.

(Oh dear, I’ve lost you.)

You’re already familiar with multi-tasking.  That’s where you watch TV, text your many BFFs, eat dinner, do the laundry, and walk the dog.  All at the same time.

Being an accomplished multi-tasker may be something you take pride in.  It’s how you earn your productivity stripes.  It’s how you keep up with the Jones – and the Smiths, and the McFarlands, and the Garcias.  It’s easy.

On the other hand, monotasking – paying attention to and doing one thing at a time – is hard.  It also represents a wholesale cultural shift.  Read More




Slow HQ has moved

And you thought you were rid of me!

Long time readers of this column may recall that my wife, Pam, and I have spent the past year and a half in limbo.  We sold our house and rented another while designing and building a new home one linear mile away from the first.

As we approached the final stage the demands on my time grew.  The house became a whirlwind of activity as painters, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and tile and floor installers put the final touches on their respective projects.  And each of them wanted to know what I wanted.  Several times a day.

Then there was the move itself, when others did all the heavy lifting and yet, somehow, teleported all their aches and pains onto me.  We are now in the unpacking phase, where God saves his cruelest joke for last.  No matter how much you put away, things seem to get progressively messier.

So today’s post will simply be a recap.  A “let’s get caught up, shall we?” kind of thing.  An exercise in putting my seat in the chair and getting down to business.  Read More




Are you living a healthy lifestyle?

healthy lifestyle

Photo: Tony Alter

Be honest.  While this question may seem straightforward enough, it’s a little more complicated than it appears.

The reality is, only 2.7 percent of us are living a healthy lifestyle in the United States.  “But that doesn’t make sense,” you say.  “Just look around.  Of all the people I interact with and see each day, most look healthy.”

But looking healthy and actually living a healthy lifestyle can be two very different things.

You see, a healthy lifestyle consists of four behavioral characteristics that researchers say work in tandem with one another to protect us against cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type-2 diabetes.

The trick is, you have to practice all four.  And very few of us do that.  Read More




What to do about all the cardboard on your doorstep

Through the miracle of modern technology and telecommunications we are fast approaching the point where slow living is possible for most of us.

With nothing more than a home office, a phone line, and an internet connection, you don’t have to leave the house to get your work done.

Gone is the interminable, life-sucking commute.  Gone, too, are the office politics, being shackled to someone else’s schedule, and about half your pay check going to gas, child care, eating out, and clothes you would gladly never wear again if given half a chance.

But as much as you might enjoy chatting up your neighbor as you walk the dog during your 10 am coffee break, all this instant communication from the comfort of your den has led to an unfortunate byproduct – the need for instant gratification.

And since you are now stuck at home enjoying your slow lifestyle, an entire industry has risen to meet your immediate need for books, groceries, and every other product under the sun to be delivered to your doorstep.  Read More




Let’s make time for the people who matter most

A recurring theme in today’s culture wars is dinner.

Actually, it isn’t.  And that’s the point.

For the most part dinner just happens.  It’s rarely an event.  We don’t gather together so much as occupy space near one another.  Sometimes.

More often than not our attention is fixed elsewhere.  It may be on the TV, or with our tablet, or in a never-ending series of posts and texts to your “friends.”

In fact, many of us have become so transfixed with creating a life of faux celebrity through the cataloging of the many “special” things that happen in our lives that, when given half a chance, we would rather have dinner with a real celebrity than with our own family.  Read More