What articles, books, and tapes are available on optimizing inner engagement and its relationship to productivity, work capacity, and well-being?
See http://wp.me/ps9h2-2x for a detailed article discussing how we can change our experience of time pressure and the feeling we don’t have enough time, The methodology described in this article is built into the workshop on Mastering Linear Time.
Beat the Clock by Changing Your Personal Time: A Key to Doing Anything Faster While Improving Well-Being
Originally published in The ASTD Reporter (Golden Gate ASTD chapter newsletter), November, 1998. The Networker (ISPI chapter newsletter, Silicon Valley), December, 1998.
Like a personal space, we all seem to have a personal time, the time it typically takes us to process a bit of information. We’re used to this processing speed, and may not notice it unless we’re affected by emotions, heat/cold, drugs like caffeine, or a near-death experience, which can speed us up or slow us down, affecting the rate at which we do everything. Is there a way to ‘control’ personal speed other than by external manipulation? What if we were able to function at twice our ‘normal’ speed without getting anxious or feeling pressured? Would we be better able to ‘keep up’ with increasing work demands? Personal time is like a frequency of awareness, a cycle time that we can learn to speed up and slow down, opening up new levels of performance and well-being. The ordinary ego is incapable of keeping up with the accelerating changes presented by time. However, awareness need not be subject to limitations of ego: “By learning to be sensitive to the infinity of 'time' available within any clock-time period, we can begin to appreciate more fully the value and possibilities life presents.” (Tarthang Tulku, Dimensions of Thought) This “infinity of ‘time’” cannot be discovered by hurrying, conventional time management, corporate ‘best practices’, or habits or values of peak performers—these usually show up within the same inflexible time flow. But there are numerous proven ways to challenge the apparently constant and purely external momentum of time. And these ways provide a self-actualizing means of continuous improvement no matter what we’re doing.
Build an Engagement Playing Field to Foster Peak Performance
You can drive balanced, overall personal and organizational progress--including improving quality, and employee well-being--if everyone focuses on increasing their own engagement rather than focusing on the scoreboard, productivity, or the bottom line, all of which are partial, superficial, and lagging indicators. (Moreover, focusing on material results sometimes simply leads to burnout.) We thus have an approach to optimal work and peak performance which fosters a natural, unimposed meeting ground for both personal fulfillment and organizational results.
Published on my blog: http://wp.me/ps9h2-2t and also at this business applications page.
Discovering the Zone of Peak Performance: Flow, Glow, and Zero (this link may be a little slow to load the two complex Flash apps on the webpage) is a 179-page E-book. Our typical approaches to resolving troubling conditions and issues are completely oblivious of the crucial fact that all these conditions as well as the self structure to which they seem to 'belong' are simply (convincingly real) instant-by-instant fabrications that don't need solving. We can learn to see how the apparently continuous movie of life, with limiting habits of self at center stage, is actually a bewildering flurry of momentary, fleeting projections onto the screen of ordinary consciousness. Troubling scenarios clearly have no absolute or fixed, unchangeable nature—unpleasant experiences seem 'real' only because of the way of projecting. We can let the projecting process go, without 'freezing' it and then trying to fix the problems that were frozen. Aware of this projecting, we can redirect its energy, breaking up limiting scenarios as soon as they appear, and before we get caught up in the parts and story lines. By recognizing the ordinary structures of life before they are firmly in place, as they are just taking the stage, we can directly and powerfully break free from limiting patterns. Without special effort—for no effort is needed—the whole of experience is already transformed. (DTS, p. 302) "Our whole purpose is to go beyond this typical lower time orientation of 'someone's doing something'. . . . If we can understand this correctly, then our difficulties in living can be solved very easily, naturally." (pp. xxxv, DOT I) "The idea should be to not add or subtract anything from the immediacy of any knowing encounter." (p. xiii, DOT I) "Everything required for contacting freedom and everything required . . . is already being done." (Interview with Tarthang Tulku
Discovering the Zone of Peak Performance includes numerous direct transpersonal exercises that don't presume the 'normal' limiting structures of self, mind, and linear time. Both troubling and liberating conditions are grouped according to twelve dimensions that are central to our lives, and coaching questions have been included to assist in tracking where along the spectra our experience 'falls' at any time. In addition, the book includes guiding principles, paradoxes, and brief considerations and instructions for exploring and dissolving limiting conditions within these twelve dimensions. All these heuristic devices are designed to help us make the transition from normal conditions to the optimal end of the spectra.
Essential Time Mastery (in Members Area)
What's necessary and essential to master time pressures, anxiety about time, and the simple feeling of time passing away? This short seminar introduces essential definitions; inquiry about the zone, personal time, and the source of time pressure; and two powerful methods that can be useful for mastering time. The script for this seminar is available here.
Exploring the ‘Zone’ of Peak Performance (available to Members)
Toward a balanced, general vision of optimal work, with a focus on experiential facets and performance values of the zone of peak performance. An article on pp. 171-196 of The 2007 Pfeiffer Annual: Annual (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2007). Available upon request by Members. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re in a race against time, and many of us feel like we’re losing. But by examining our experience and seeing how time flows and is broken into past, present, and future ‘rooms’ in experience, time’s character gradually changes. Time shows itself as the dynamic process at the source of all experience and movement—the powerful, creative aspect of life. We are not stuck with balance as an alternating between trying to keep up with the rat race and then dropping out for a while. At any moment we can find, and perhaps remain ‘within’, the most peaceful, yet most productive ‘zone’ at the center of our activities.
Gambling with Deadline Pressure (in Members Area)
As a way of exploring the opportunities in the 'inner game' of work, we can experiment with a mock work situation, and see what might be holding us back from peak performance--optimal productivity, quality, and satisfaction while doing a task. With this simple one-minute exercise, you can also experiment with the source of time pressure, and investigate how involvement relates to pressure.
For the exercise directions, click here. Additional information to help you interpret what happened in the exercise is contained in "Gambling with Deadline Pressure," an excerpt about the card sorting exercise from Chapter 6 of Results in No Time. You could do the Card Sorting Exercise (or on this page) before or after reading this excerpt.
For the article in the Members Area, go here.
Got Time? Beat the Clock before You Run Out of Time!
This is the script for a YouTube video (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Suki-Jg27qc ) that depicts the habitual Western problems with time pressure and the feeling of not having enough time, identifies common ways of not dealing with the problem, and then suggests that there are ways to change our personal time (like a personal space).
Two very different, useful, and complementary ways to measure progress, including a self-actualizing measure, our sense of time passing.
Phenomenological examples to show how our sense of time passing is created and reinforced.
About the way we 'normally' experience time in Western countries
(Linear) Time is bad for our health and well-being!
"Until we learn to control time consciously, our lives will continue to speed away from us, and we won't even notice the beauty or the events around us. We'll simply be left with the feeling that something's missing, something's disappeared." (p. 14, Time Shifting) And it's not a matter of just feeling stressed out: "By living in mental time--in a speeded-up world--with the resultant repression of emotional issues, we increase the chance of disease." (p. 171) However, "If we can think of time in a different way, if we become aware that it contains myriad rhythms and that any individual moment can be expanded or contracted under our control, then I believe we can make time our servant--and in doing so, fill our lives with happiness and health to a degree most of us don't experience and cannot even imagine." (p. 3) "The misuse of time in today’s society should lead to a 'time movement'.” (p. 226) Such a movement has been started--see http://www.tskassociation.org/time-movement.html
Published on my blog: http://wp.me/ps9h2-3C
Managing, Producing, and Evolving By Continuously Actualizing Values (in Members Area)
No matter what we do in life, it has two aspects, our ongoing experience, and the recording of our intentions, goals, and actions. As a shorthand analogy to a sporting event, we might call these two aspects of the ‘game of life’ the experiential fieldand the scoreboard. To facilitate progress toward personal and organizational goals, each individual can define performance values to measure his/her involvement along one or more dimensions of the experiential field. As we act to accomplish our goals, we can then periodically measure these values as a way to evaluate and drive our progress. Then, assuming that individuals periodically make suitable redefinitions of their performance values, the following two practices should optimally drive and sustain long-term individual and, for those involved in organizations, organizational progress--including simultaneously improving productivity, quality of services and products, worker well-being and work capacity:
(1) The primary practice, related to the experiential field: Make increasing-involvement 'moves' in the field as often as one can, while:
(2) Acting and keeping one's scoreboard “at the back of one's mind.”
Published on my blog: http://wp.me/ps9h2-3n
Mastering the Deadline Demon: Powerful Tips for Relieving Deadline Pressures (in Members Area)
Originally appeared in The Learning Curve, November, 1996, 4-5. The ASTD Reporter, November, 1996, 8. The Networker, December, 1996, 1-6. Identifies the sources of time pressure and suggests six exercises for handling it. Published on my blog: http://wp.me/ps9h2-2W
Mastering the Deadline Demon: Staying Calm under Pressure (available to Members)
An article on pp. 9-13 of Vol. 1 of The 1998 Annual (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 1998). Available by request of members.
Principles and suggestions for breaking through the apparent limitations of time.
"The quality of our lives is closely connected to our understanding of time. If we are not well acquainted with time's dynamic and how it connects to mind and senses, divisions and meanings, meditation and self-actualization, then time runs our lives. To gain access to a deeper understanding of time, it seems we must begin by keeping track of time. Gradually, through careful observation of time, awareness begins to deepen and experience grows richer and more positive. This book offers ways to begin such an exploration by learning how to pay attention to time, to use time well, and to see the connection between the quality of our lives and our understanding of time." --Tarthang Tulku
Results in No Time introduces a powerful vision that naturally guides us toward peak performance during any kind of work--not by motivational or manipulative techniques, but by helping us simply and directly explore the feeling of time passing and valued qualities of our experience such as timelessness.
A two-cassette audio recording of workshops presented at the Annual Conference of the State Bar of California. You will:
From this workshop you can learn:
Some people believe that “Time Management” is one of the biggest misconceptions of all, because there are only twenty-four hours in every day and we can’t stretch or shrink time. In the sense that we don’t change physical time itself, I agree that we do not ‘manage time’. But does time management only work with physical time? Besides clock and physical time, there is also psychological time, which we can learn to expand and contract, or to change to a sense of timeless flow during peak performance. To my mind the biggest misconception in time management is that time flows linearly, and we need to somehow just adapt to this flow. Scientists have never found any flow ‘out there’ in reality. It’s just an unhealthy mental and physiological habit taught as we grow up in different cultures, and we can learn how to gradually break the habit. Also published on my blog: http://wp.me/ps9h2-3y
The importance of handling feelings of urgency
CTM seminars sometimes emphasize distinguishing what feels important vs. what feels urgent or pressing because often we mistake feelings of urgency, anxiety, or pressure for importance. Covey's solution for this problem is to focus on the tasks themselves and categorize them by means of four quadrants. This procedure might be sufficient to prioritize any particular task, but it should be noted that thoroughly dealing with the feeling of time urgency itself is of utmost importance, since this is the symptom of hurry sickness and the predecessor of chronic disease. CTM often recommends categorizing things as urgent or important, but this does little if anything to reduce the fundamentally troubling momentum associated with all our tasks, which requires an investigation of time's momentum in general, and understanding and directly seeing what makes time go. Available by request. Email email@example.com
Video Games As Learning Tools?
Video games can definitely be used—and already are ‘informally’ being used—to learn to break through the limiting ways we experience time, a habitual cultural ‘skill’ at the foundation of everything we do and experience, in every field and endeavor. Though there certainly can be an element of avoidance, many young people feel a measure of fulfillment in gaming, and are very likely learning how to break through the restrictive cultural way of feeling time, finding a sense of freedom from time pressures and anxiety—even while increasing the speed of their actions!
Available by request. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
What Drives Optimal Work?
How deepening personal experiential involvement drives productivity, quality, and well-being of the worker. Originally published in The Networker. January, 1997, 1, 3, 5. Available by request. Email email@example.com
What’s the ‘Zone’ of Peak Experience and Performance? (in Members Area)
Zone experiences are characterized by a remarkable absence of persistent structures of experience. Zone experiences can be characterized by the words flow, glow, and zero: qualities of unobstructed flow (time dimension), luminous presence and positionless knowing (identity/knowing dimension), and pervasive, nonextended, and undivided openness (space dimension), with varying proportions of these attributes in different experiences. Any activity is optimized during absorption in the zone. Originally published in Pfeiffer Jossey-Bass The Annual, 2006. See http://wp.me/ps9h2-19 (Called "What's the Zone?)
What's the Zone of Peak Performance? (text in Members Area)
What else is possible beyond our ‘normal’ experience? What is the character of peak experience, or the zone of peak performance? Are there unconditioned, irreducible, core aspects of experience? How are these aspects related to our 'normal' conditioned experience, and to our ordinary activities in the world? Is the zone a state that both carries inherent fulfillment and facilitates optimal productivity? For the beginning of this article, go to the homepage. For the remainder of the article in the Members Area, click here.
What ideas, principles, perspectives, and habits about time do we inculcate in those residing in Western societies?
Zone Performance Questions
Twelve questions to help determine whether one is in the zone along twelve important dimensions of experience. Meant to accompany my full-length articles on the zone. Available by request for members. Email firstname.lastname@example.org