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Days of Grace, Hours of Contemplation

By slowing down, clearing out the extraneous, and sharpening your focus, you have a better chance of succeeding

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Days of Grace is an autobiographical work by the late Arthur Ashe, a U.S. tennis player, sports commentator, and historian. Ashe died from AIDS at the age of 47, which he contracted as a result of a blood supply mix-up at a hospital lab. He was married and had a young daughter. He had finished writing a huge three-volume set on the history of the African-American athlete starting from the 1650’s.

While working to complete Days of Grace and spending time with his wife and daughter, he reflected upon the last few months of his life in a way that most people never do.

These were the Days of Grace, when time slowed down, and when each day was precious. Ashe said that he became profoundly thankful for each month, then each week, and then each day he had left.

Sharpening Your Focus

Scheduling days of grace serves a real purpose. By slowing down, clearing out the extraneous, sharpening your focus, and becoming more in tune, on a higher level, as to what activities need to be handled, you have a better chance of succeeding than you would otherwise.

Contemplate the last time you were asked to tackle any project, on your own or within a small team. Someone, probably your boss, was waiting for the results, which you needed to turn in on a deadline.

What was your immediate reflexive action? For some people it is to clear the decks. They literally create space on their desks, conference tables, or other workplaces.

Give yourself the opportunity to work without disruption. Assemble the resources you need. For the time being, let other pressing issues fall by the wayside. Give the task at hand sharp focus.

To Win, Slow Down

Rushing through any task invariably results in down time, errors, and having to do things over again. The total “rush-through” time ends up equaling what it would have taken if you had proceeded more cautiously.

You’ve heard the old saw about not having enough time to do a job right the first time, yet having to make the time later to fix it. As I discuss in my book Breathing Space: Living and Working at a Comfortable Pace in a Sped Up Society, one of the great paradoxes of our age is that often, to flourish in our sped-up society, sometimes the first and most critical step is to slow down:

* to get your bearings,

* to read the instructions,

* to reflect, or

* to rest.

If you have to, read instruction manuals, books, articles, reports, briefs, or data sheets.  Allocate twice the time that you instinctively would to the organization, reading, and digestion of such materials.

Before sitting down to read or engage in any other information intake process, surround yourself with the tools that support your ability to capture the essence of what you are reading and aptly apply it.

What is it Like?

Here is an exercise for whatever you’ve been asked to handle and whatever results are to be achieved: Is there something else in your work, your life, or the world you can identify that is similar like to what you’ve been assigned?

Has there been a previous project that you can examine and learn from? Did you work on something in a previous position, come across an article or case study, or know someone who managed a situation that has some similarities to yours?

Going a step further, are there any processes in nature, politics, or relationships that have elements that you can draw upon? Looking for a metaphor is not some esoteric, airy-fairy type of recommendation.

After all, people tend to naturally do this anyway. We relate one or more things that we know to what we are presently trying to learn in order to make our learning task easier.

In the early days of personal computers, manufacturers and developers used a metaphor of the human brain in both the design and explanation of how computers work. It wasn’t a perfect match, but it was sufficient to give most people an idea as to what computers could do, how they operated, and how to put them to work for you.

Giving yourself time and slack by scheduling days of grace increases the probability of seeing corollaries between what you have been assigned to manage and other things that you have come across in work or in life.

Pad Your Schedule

This sounds like heresy but to the degree practical, give yourself extra time at the start of a new week. This is time not merely for reading, but for thinking, reflecting, scheduling, and anticipating critical junctures.

Too often, you are thrown into a situation, often on short notice, and asked to perform miraculous results. Even in such instances, if you can maneuver for some extra time up-front, insights as well as genuine opportunities emerge that otherwise might not have.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Life

For High Productivity, Take a Nap

Naps are better than caffeine for improving verbal memory, motor skills, and perceptual learning

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A study by researchers Sara Mednick, Denise Cai, Jennifer Kanady, and Sean Drummond published in Behavioural Brain Research (2008) found that naps are better than caffeine for improving verbal memory, motor skills, and perceptual learning.

Many people avoid napping during the day to not interfere with a good night’s sleep. “Why should I sleep now,” they might ask, “if it’s only going to make me toss and turn in bed tonight?” Actually, naps can be helpful in recovering from sleep deprivation, refreshing your energy supply, and reducing stress. Naps can do more harm than good, however, when taken at the wrong time or for the wrong amount of time.

The “When” of Napping

So, when to nap? Health.com advises that the preferred time to experience deep sleep is between noon and 2 pm. Naps at other times of the day tend to not be as deep, and therefore will not be as refreshing.

Alternatively, according to Dr. Jack Eddiger at Duke University, the ideal time to take a nap is between 1 pm and 3 pm to 4 pm. These guidelines particularly apply to weekdays. Dr. Eddiger further suggests setting a timer to keep your nap to 20 minutes or less. In that time frame, you can awake refreshed, and more easily resume what you were doing. Longer than 20 minutes and you run the risk of entering into deeper REM sleep. Thereafter, you might need a while to return to where you need to be mentally.

Refreshed or Groggy? – Experts at the National Sleep Foundation concur that when you nap prior to 3 pm, you’re less likely to incur difficulties falling asleep that night. The journal Sleep published a study concurring that shorter naps can be more beneficial. A 10-minute nap both diminishes sleepiness and improves cognitive performance. A 30-minute nap or longer can result in lingering grogginess.

When napping, seek a dark, cool place, in any comfortable position. Once you find the perfect nap time for you, you’ll find that your mood, productivity, attitude, and energy increase. When you start experimenting with your nap hours and your nap lengths, don’t be surprised if you can succeed outside of the recommended guidelines.

Where oh, Where

When you do nap, choose a cot or a bed, versus a chair, in a location where you won’t be disturbed. If at home, hang a sign to tell others in advance. You’ll find that the quality of your nap is higher and the benefits to you will be apparent.

Forbes reports that some high-powered executives and CEOs, whose names are well known, are advocates of taking naps. Many have elaborate napping procedures, knowing that once they awake, they’re ready to jump back into the fray to do great work.

Beware: Naps are not to be used as a substitute for getting the right amount of sleep each night. They are a supplement. It is not ideal to be taking naps to make up for sleep that you missed during the night. In fact, that misses the point altogether.

Weekend Naps

What about napping on the weekend? Generally speaking, it’s okay, and you can loosen up on the time intervals and the length of the nap. Presumably, on the weekend, you have more flexibility. Nevertheless, don’t nap too late in the afternoon or approaching the early evening, if you intend to get to bed at a reasonable hour. You can let the 4 pm guideline slip, but don’t go much past five or six.

An exception is when you have a late night activity planned. For example, when you’re heading out to a social gathering at 9 pm or 10 pm, a nap as late as 7 pm could be to your advantage. You’ll have the alertness and energy to fully participate in the event, even if it extends past midnight.

Napping later in the afternoon or in the early evening is a useful strategy when you’re going to watch a television program that you know will run long. In the U.S., most major events, including the World Series, Academy Awards, Grammys, and NBA finals are scheduled to start at 9 pm on the east coast and 6 pm on the west coast. Hence, Californians have no real issues in finishing the telecast. East coasters, who want to watch the end, can benefit from a nap of a couple hours before a telecast begins.

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Elections

It’s On! American Freedom Tour Launches Oct. 9th!

It is time for conservatives to go on offense! Join Donald Trump Jr, Dinesh D’Souza, Kayleigh McAnany and PolitiCrossing Founder Chris Widener Oct 9th!

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American Fail

I think we all agree that it’s time for conservatives to go on OFFENSE!

PolitiCrossing founder, Chris Widener, is announcing the launch of the American Freedom Tour, featuring Donald Trump Jr, Dinesh D’Souza, Kayleigh McAnany, Sheriff David Clarke and many more in Jacksonville, Florida Oct 9th! The American Freedom Tour already has a number of dates scheduled throughout the country. Be sure to check out their website to see the cities and buy your tickets by clicking RIGHT HERE.

For the last five years, conservatives have been told how bad they are. They’ve been told how bad America is. They’ve been called horrible names. They’ve been called xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, racist, and every other malicious name, some of which can’t even be written for a family audience. The American freedom Tour is gone to set that straight! We have watched our cities destroyed and burned to the ground. We have seen our historical monuments torn down. At the American Freedom Tour, we are going to loudly proclaim that America is the greatest country on the face of the earth! This is a pro-America, pro-freedom, pro-family, pro-faith, and pro-capitalism event. We are going to take the message of the greatness of America across our country in city after city. Do not miss this event! For all the information and to buy your tickets, click HERE.

“Conservatives are tired of being on the sidelines and being told they can’t be part of the game,” Widener said. “They are tired of being told how bad America is. The American Freedom Tour is designed to celebrate America and how great our country is. We are going to take this tour all over America to declare that we will not let go of the American Dream! We are going to promote conservative ideals in each and every city we go to, because conservative ideas are what will save America from the growing tyranny that we face each and every day.”

So, bring your family and friends and come celebrate America with us in a city near you with America’s top conservative thinkers, media personalities, authors, speakers and politicians! Check out the full schedule HERE!

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