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I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. J. K. Rowling
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Discussion Forum > Give us your relaxation/play tips!

If you are frustrated over something at work or just need to unwind, what do you do to relax? And do you include them in your time management system, have a schedule for them, or do you just close your calendars/list/notebook/computer and chill out until you feel good to go back into the fray?

Give us your tips! This is I think as important as any management system.

As for me, if at work I just hunker down to reading a good yarn while sipping tea or coffee, sometimes I walk out or chill inside my car. At home (I live alone) I either read, take a nap, or play a video game, although I am starting to include having some walking outside my apartment to clear my mind. And these activities I add into my task list, although if really needed I just handle them as "urgent" tasks.
November 20, 2017 at 16:11 | Registered Commenternuntym
• read MFnet

(current active task!)

Seriously, though - during my work day, I don't usually write, dot, and do relaxation-type activities such as surfing the web unless those activities keep me going on work-related tasks. But I do list tasks such as

• make tea
• eat lunch
• walk after lunch
• coffee-nap *

because I think I am more productive if I don't skip them.

At home, I'm not consistent. I might spend most of the day off-list, or use the list and also fill it with a lot of recreational 'tasks' interspersed with chores, errands, etc.

November 20, 2017 at 17:03 | Registered Commenterubi
Good question!

I have quite a lot of unwind-type tasks on my list, which I don't distinguish in any way from weightier matters.

Among them are:

A couple of blogs which I really enjoy reading, with high-frequency posting. They are tasked by name on my list

One or two people's Twitter posts - otherwise I stay off Twitter. They are tasked by name on my list

"Facebook". I hate Facebook, so only read posts from family, real-life friends and some local organisations I belong to.

"Amazon Video". I choose what I'm going to watch when I get on site. Currently binge-watching the 1st series of "Mr Robot"

"Kindle". I choose what I'm going to read when I've opened my Kindle. My only rule is that it must not be the same book I read the previous time.

"Books". Same as "Kindle" except with books made out of paper.

"Magazines". Currently reading ten magazines simultaneously. Not sure if this actually qualifies as relaxation.

"Glossika". Currently learning French (high standard), Welsh (beginner) and Armenian (beginner). If you are interested in languages and don't know about Glossika then look it up because it's amazing - and very good for the brain.

"10,000 Steps". I haven't yet got this really established.
November 20, 2017 at 17:44 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
A good - and often neglected! - question.

For me. Currently:

Read - fiction or non-fiction (always paper books, I don't like reading for pleasure from a device)

Watch something, mostly on either BBC iPlayer or Netflix

Play or spend time with my children

Go for a walk

play or study chess

Make/drink coffee

Listen to general music

listen to/read yet another book about the Beatles

Noodle about on acoustic guitar

Work on novel (severely neglected for last year)

Try not to buy things from Am*zon - especially more books
November 20, 2017 at 19:26 | Unregistered CommenterNeil C
If I need to get away from the computer, presumably because I fell into some sort of a rabbit hole, I change to tasks that get me away from my desk. Household chores, groceries, the physical workout. I try to keep a rhythm between those to states during the day.

I read so much for work, that little reading I can be bothered to do for relaxation, I just have it on my list the same as with work related reading. I feel that reading needs a lot of note taking, so it's better done in some sort of "work-mode".

I stretch out the cooking, making a little hobby out of a necessity.
November 21, 2017 at 4:01 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher
Sounds crazy, but "Quiet - 15mins" because my default is to cram one more web site, page, ebook, etc into my already crowded cranium. I have to remind myself to step away from it all now and then. One of my first coaches suggested sitting on the sofa for 15 minutes doing nothing -- not meditating, which is a kind of doing, so much as "just sit and be bored for a while" and see what your mind does in response.
November 21, 2017 at 17:13 | Unregistered CommenterMike Brown

Interesting idea. 15 minutes of nothing sounds a bit like torture to me. So you set a timer and sit and wait. It could seem like a very long time. How does it work for you? Is it really better than a short nap or walk or meditation session?
November 21, 2017 at 17:24 | Registered Commenterubi
Mike ubi et al:

I once had a period of seeing what would happen if I just sat with no intentions, no purpose, no nothing, until I got a strong inclination to do a specific action. I did this for several months on end and I think I once sat for something like six hours without taking any action at all. My memory may be at fault here!

All I can say is that you are not the same person after you've done (or rather not done) something like that.
November 21, 2017 at 22:25 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mike, "See what your mind does in response" sounds like Vipassana meditation, also known as Open Awareness or Insight. (The other extreme is Samatha or Close Focus.) In Vipassana, you observe and possibly label what comes to mind. You can focus a bit, such as sounds or thoughts or emotions or sensations. Labeling or noting is a way of distancing yourself rather than getting caught up in it. Searching for the exact right label is thinking. If you find yourself caught up in the thoughts or emotions, maybe return to focusing on something specific for a bit, traditionally the breath.

I like the phrase "and be bored for a while." The course I'm currently taking has me focus just a bit, but many teachers say "Being, not Doing." (An entire month of "be bored for a bit" might be hard to turn into a course.)

Some traditions teach Samatha for years before introducing Vipassana. Some teach the basics with Samatha then do mostly Vipassana. Most do a wide variety, including forms of praying for people (including yourself), movement, rituals, mantras, and focusing on different objects and concepts.

One of my favourite forms of meditation, especially in waiting rooms, is start with Vipassana, and when a thought involves a person, pray for them for about a minute (or longer if needed), then return to Vipassana.

(It might do me more good if I spent as much time actually meditating rather than learning about different methods and traditions.)
November 23, 2017 at 16:34 | Registered CommenterCricket

Yes, I set a timer for 15 minutes and just sit in a dark room or in my office chair; I try to reduce the visual input but it's not mandatory.

I am so inundated with sensory input, the pleasureful hit of data I get from my smartphone, and the sense that Imustabsolutelydosomethingrightnowaboutthisthought that I sometimes feel crowded out of my own head.

So 15 minutes of boredom does not stop the environmental noise around me from happening, I still hear the cars and people walking in the street outside. But it imposes a space between stimulus and response. I would like to expand that space to a more spacious feeling generally, which is probably a lifetime project :)

I think there is some value to me in staying with the discomfort of compulsing to want to move, to scratch that mental itch. I can feel the discomfort and stick with the exercise anyway. Which may have applications for me beyond this little exercise.

I heard some psychologist (was it in "Denial of Death" by Becker?) that fear of boredom was a fear of death. That's above my pay grade, but something to ponder while I sit on the couch :)
November 23, 2017 at 22:48 | Unregistered CommenterMike Brown