There’s a great deal of discussion on the internet if the traditional ‘context’ is dead due to the ubiquity of mobile phones (read computers) and internet. Contexts such as ‘computer’, ‘online’ and ‘phone’ seem to have lost their relevance. Add to this all those other abstract contexts such as ’think’, ‘energy’ – which just dilute the traditional concept of a context further. When I moved from Things to Omnifocus I was quick to create perspectives which filtered my tasks to show how Things showed them – in Today, Next, Scheduled & Someday views. My workflow was to use Today and Next perspectives to find stuff to do and Scheduled and Someday to plan. My workflow was simple – get done with what’s in Today and move on to Next to find tasks.
One day he had it enough. The last straw broke his back. Despite knowing what he saw on social media was just one Photoshopped facet of a person’s life, he couldn’t stop from comparing. He cribbed, cribbed and cribbed his heart out. “Am I a loser?” he asked me. Knowing him, I knew he wasn’t. I sympathized with him. Talking to him, I confessed that even I fall into this trap often. Ten, fifteen years back your friends’, acquaintance success was something you came to know when you met them or through someone, and you thought about it for sometime, you’d either be happy or jealous and move on. It was easy to forget. But, nowadays, social media is in your face. It’s difficult to forget. Everyday we see one or the other friend scuba diving, posing before the London eye or at the Niagara, buying a new car, a new house, partying in a pub, getting promoted, starting a new company, retiring to a villa. With all this happening around us, we against our best judgement end up comparing our lives with them, even when we know that all of it was not done by one person, and analyze our life against theirs’. We fall short and end up feeling miserable.
I read online for almost two hours everyday. I don’t remember exactly how the time went up from a few minutes of casual browsing to two hours of serious reading, but, it all started when I bought my first smart-phone three years back. At first my reading was limited to Wikipedia and articles I googled on topics I was interested in. But, before I knew I had a list of websites I was visiting almost daily. I bookmarked them and dutifully checked for updates. As time passed, the number of blogs I read grew and pretty soon visiting all them became a chore. Looking for a solution, I stumbled upon something called ‘RSS’ – Really Simple Syndication – a notification system which alerts us whenever the blog/website we love posts something new. Sometimes, a RSS feed brings us just a few lines with a link back to the post and sometimes the entire new post eliminating the need to visit the site altogether. All I had to do to start with this was to create an account with a ‘Feed Reader’ service which I quickly opened with Google Reader – the then defacto leader of RSS reader service and bought a very good app (still on my home-screen) called ‘Reeder’ for my iOS devices – to sync to my account on Google Reader – to browse my feeds. It was bliss for a long time.
Where there is a will there is a way. We all know this adage. If only we put our heart in and focus on an issue, we’ll get through it. A nice motivator. But, unlike popular belief, willpower is not limitless. Research tells us it is a finite resource and needs to be used carefully. According to me there are two major ‘willpower wasters’ we encounter on a day to day basis – avoiding temptations & decision making. Let’s see how -
Scenario 1 – You are on a diet regime, but walked into an eatery displaying a new pastry. Do you think you can control yourself from eating? You are financially broke but walked into a mall running sales. Do you think it’ll be easy to control your expenditure? You have to prepare for an examination but turn on the TV. Do you think you can switch off the TV in the middle of a good movie?
Scenario 2 – Have you ever been to a restaurant and spent thirty minutes just looking at the menu unable to decide which curry you’d like to order from the fifteen listed in the menu? Did you anytime get up in the morning not sure what to wear that day to work and spent half hour just trying to figure that out? Have you walked into a mall, wondering which butter to buy from the available 10 varieties in each brand?
One evening I went to a mall nearby and was relaxing on an open top restaurant. It happened to be a full moon night and I sat looking at the moon, enjoying the cool breeze just taking in the beauty and feeling very peaceful. I was so lost in the scene that I became oblivious to the noise around. It had been a very long time I was so at peace with no thought in my mind – just one with the elements of nature. Then it suddenly hit me, how could I forget? I used to walk everyday at night, on the terrace after dinner for almost seven years till the day I started working which brought an end to these late night walks.