What articles, books, and tapes are available on inner engagement, 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
1. Are you applying effort or control to something that feels separate from you, or does your activity seem to flow effortlessly "by itself?”
2. Do things feel familiar, somewhat predictable, or even habitual, or does each new moment, along with all that appears in the momentary scenario, seem spontaneous and fresh?
3. Are you looking forward to being done with the work, or are you currently fulfilled within your work-in-progress?
4. Do objects and events take up space and appear to be separate and dispersed, or are do they seem intimately connected in and even as one space?
5. Is there a private space or personal world that feels separate from everything outside, or do inner and outer, subjective and objective appear to be inseparable facets of the same undivided space?
6. Is there a sense of self that stands apart from experience and externals, or do you feel identified with, or absorbed in, what is happening?
7. Is knowledge simply something that you or others possess or lack, or is there a sense of being intimately part of what's around you, knowing things that are happening 'from inside' them?
8. Is knowledge only identification, categorization, judgment, and detached observation, or also an illuminating clarity merged with the subject being explored?
9. Are there divisions among your self, mind, body, and personality, or is there a natural sense of wholeness, fulfillment, and satisfaction?
10. Are you driven by a need or a desire for pleasure, or is everything being found to be immediately and inherently fulfilling?
11. Do you notice a feeling of time flowing in the background, or are you timelessly involved?
12. Does reality seem solid, fixed, and substantial, or does everything seem somewhat fluid or dreamlike?