30 Second Change: Refocus and Accomplish More

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An excerpt from Unreasonable Joy: Awakening Through Trikaya Buddhism

During an NHL hockey game, the average ice time for a player per shift is 30 seconds. When a player hits the ice, he gives all of his strength and his full focus, because in 30 seconds, multiple goals can be scored, and games can be won or lost. Then he sits for a few minutes and gets up to do it again.
While most of us won’t be strapping on a pair of ice skates anytime soon, we can power up our lives with a 30-second change.

If we give our full attention, we have the ability to accomplish a multitude of tasks in 30 seconds. Here are nine things that can be done in 30 seconds:

• Walk around the room to get your blood flowing

• Catch your breath after vigorous exercise by breathing deeply

• File the papers on your desk

• Stretch your neck, shoulders and touch your toes

• Write a short email

• Tell a joke and laugh

• Create clarity so you can see your next step

• Center your awareness in gratitude

• Meditate and dissolve in Samadhi

In our fast-paced world, on a planet that’s literally rotating at 1,000 miles per hour and traveling around the sun at 67,000 mph, it often feels like we don’t have time to do anything. We attempt to multitask, but what really happens is we rush through our to-do list without focusing on any one task and then we have to fix the mistakes caused by our lack of attention.

What we don’t realize in our mission to get it all done fast is that we are more efficient when we do one task at a time. Even a computer’s CPU, which gives the illusion of multitasking, really does only one function at a time; it just does it very quickly and switches between programs seamlessly.

The next time you feel frazzled and moving in great haste, stop for 30 seconds. Time yourself, because 30 seconds is much longer than you may think. Take deep breaths and allow yourself to feel the air fill and empty from your lungs. Focus on all the little things bringing you joy in this present moment. Give thanks for all you have right now. This allows us to find the calm center in the middle of the storm of life.

After 30 seconds, look at your to-do list and pick one task. (Don’t have a to-do list written down? Make that your first task.) Like a hockey player, give that activity your full focus and strength for 30 seconds. You might be surprised how after 30 seconds you can keep going. Maintain this same intensity of focus for 10 minutes and notice how much you get done.

Perhaps after 10 or 15 minutes you’ll need to check your messages or email. Give the task of checking messages your full attention. Then switch to the next item on the list, again giving your entire focus to whatever you need to do.

When you get lost in the hustle and your focus begins to waver, stop for 30 seconds to make a change by resting in your center.

Practice Pointer: What can you accomplish in 30-second bursts?

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