Being a transmeridian worker who never leaves her desk, I was impressed with attorney-at-law Matthew R. Kamula’s take on owning his time (okay, I get up to have lunch, hug the occasional tree and help the kids with homework, but there are days where I feel as planted to my chair as a Redwood is to the California soil).

But back to Matthew and his brilliant energy management technique. He calls it ‘time-zoning’. Because he literally manages three offices in different time zones, he has taught his team a particular technique, which he discusses in today’s podcast.

Matthew is the master of expectation management. While he admits he had to invest time on the front end, it has made his life a lot easier. Truth be told, he checks email only twice a day! So listen to Matthew speak about time, clocks and a management technique that’ll knock your socks off!

If you like what you hear, don’t forget to right-click, save, then place your Power of Slow badge of honor anywhere in your social media universe. We appreciate you spreading the word that slow is faster and that fast is merely exhausting!

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How to Step out of Time

July 30, 2010

In our time-crunched existence, we often feel the weight of the world on our shoulders as we hurry to and fro, up and down and all around. It seems on those occasions when we ‘just can’t take it anymore’, we feel a particular sharp-edged crush of the rush. In large part, it has to do with our state of mind.

Zen masters would argue it has everything to do with our thinking.

Stepping out of time is a practical method of relieving the crush we place ourselves in. But how can we step out of the time construct into which we are all born?

By listening to music.

Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, Rosanne Cash and I had a lovely

Photo Courtesy of Abby Ross

chat yesterday, which will be airing on August 14th at 5 pm ET on this NPR station. She rightly pointed out that sound can pull you outside of linear time at any given moment. It uplifts and rewards. Sound informs. And when we hear its call, we are set free.

What I came to know through my conversation with Rosanne is that art has a soul-nourishing timelessness. Whether painting, dancing, acting, writing or singing, living art in that most profound way creates a space outside of time. We can dwell there whenever we like, calling forth that spiritual energy that enriches our lives. As Deepak Chopra recently said to me, parts of ourselves live in eternity. There is grace in knowing we are connected to that Source at all times. But I wonder how often do we realize all that we are looking for is already here?

So today’s question to you is how will you step out of time today?

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Street clock in Globe, Arizona, USA
Image via Wikipedia

We all live by a certain formula we set up for ourselves. Somewhere along the line we learn to filter, mask and derail specific notions about the world and ourselves. Until I realized speed would not make me happy, I thought beating the clock was the best way to live.

Not so.

My winning formula was clock combat. But what I didn’t realize is that clock combat = self combat. What are we truly racing toward…or against?

It all comes down to ourselves. We may define our lives by external matters such as a watch or the construct we call time. We might feel we are victim to our job, our co-workers, or our families.

There is no power from that space.

Abundant, joyful living does not stem from that place of lack, blame and exhaustion.

Abundance comes from within. I have changed my formula to one of infinite abundance: Time = existence. I am here. What will I do with my time? That is a question I answer every day now. Savoring the preciousness of our moments is a much deeper way to live.

From which formula do you operate?

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WATERFALLS © Robert Bialota | Dreamstime.com

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, the recession has had a lot of people reviewing their habits and turning toward a healthier lifestyle.

Forty-seven percent of workers report they have been packing a lunch more often to eat healthier or help save money. As for smoking, 44 percent of workers who smoke said they are more likely to quit smoking given today’s economic conditions. In addition, one-in-five said that they have decreased the number of times they smoke during the work day (21 percent) or actually quit altogether (20 percent).

The CareerBuilder survey was conducted among more than 4,400 workers between May 18 and June 3, 2010.

The downside I have seen is that people are taking less time to eat lunch. Instead of resting, many people are utilizing their lunch hour to run around like a mad person. While I agree with the 10% that opted to walk on their lunch break, 16% chose to work through it.

Nearly one-third (32 percent) report they take less than a half hour for lunch, while 5 percent take less than 15 minutes. Ten percent never take a lunch break! Nearly one-in-five (18 percent) typically don’t leave their desks during their lunch break and eat in their workspace 5 days a week.

So while people are smoking less, they are taking fewer breaks as well. The ultimate health benefit to scaling back is when we realize the only way to sustain our energy throughout the day is to take a reasonable amount of time to slow down.

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Ellen Daehnick, owner of the management consulting agency, b-spoke group, says our heightened distraction leaves us depleted and worn. Back to back meetings used to leave her breathless until she found a secret strategy to disengage from clock combat. No more shiny object distraction for her!

Listen in on how she managed to move from jumbled schedules to joy!

If you like what you hear, don’t forget to right-click, save, then place your Power of Slow badge of honor anywhere in your social media universe. We appreciate you spreading the word that slow is faster and that fast is merely exhausting!

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Open Spaces

July 23, 2010

Photo Courtesy of Amy L Morton

New ideas need room to grow. Although it is risky to make a change, change is inevitable. As we attempt to keep pace with our rush-rush world, we notice that space is something of which we have little.

So last weekend I tossed old magazines, university papers and files that no longer fed into my ultimate purpose. Did I really need to have that spiral bound notebook “Introduction to Literary Theory”? I dumped fifty pounds of paper in the recycling bin the very same day.

You will notice when you leave room for new things, they inevitably walk into your life. It may take some time to readjust to the unusual spaciousness of your new existence, but I promise that with every change comes a new opportunity.

Take an opportunity this weekend to clear some space for yourself. Maybe it is just one drawer that contains the key to your liberation. Free yourself by giving stuff a toss. Then watch how you experience a shift as you see the magic unfold…

Shifting Left of Center

July 19, 2010

True inspiration comes from a deep listening that we seldom embrace in our go-go existence. As a writer, I have found it essential to take pause to capture the Voice within. Creative articulation is relentless in granting itself expression. If I don’t pay attention, the Voice finds someone else who will as I’m busy doing something else. It is a sad moment when I look up to see Voice’s dust cloud galloping off without me.

Janis Hui from The Heart Forum left a most wonderful comment about my piece On Savoring that is most appropriate to this notion. She writes:

Not only we do we need quietude for the creative process, we need it from time to time to maintain our sanity.  Without making a point to slow down and reflect, it’s all too easy to get lost in the rat race and forget if all that we are busy doing is aligned with our authentic selves.  We might think what we do is aligned with our center when we set out to do things but our centers also shift as time goes on. If we took the time to check in with ourselves, we would be able to notice these differences and make adjustments along the way.

Isn’t that so true? If we clutched doggedly to a purpose that no longer serves us, wouldn’t we tend to go faster and harder, thinking more effort will lead to a better outcome?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Moments of reflection are necessary, not just for the writers among us, but for everyone on the planet. That is why meditation, retreats and renewal ceremonies are so important. Whether you are renewing your marital vows or celebrating thirty years in business, we need to formally recognize our commitments. It helps strengthen our resolve and place us back on task.

Yesterday I met with a dear friend whom I have know for a while. She helped me on several book projects and has been my champion in so many ways. As we caught up each other on our lives, she paused for a moment and said, “How do you do it all?” I thought for a moment, then answered: “I only do things that serve my ultimate purpose.”

Like an interwoven tapestry, one thing feeds the next. Everything we do must feed our soul. If it drains us, we must move on. That includes listening for the shift in our center, checking in with ourselves every now and then, and allowing things to unfurl naturally.

My motto today? Let it happen and be witness to the grace of this lifetime for it is here, nestled deep within.

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Jurgen Wolff knows about alter egos. As a London-based screenwriter for TV and film, he assures you there is a place for creativity. But there is also a place for your technical thinking (such as when you’re pitching your show idea to a BlackBerry-thumbing T.V. producer with the attention span of a two-year-old).

He and I sat down for a chat about how to focus. In his book, Focus: Use the Power of Targeted Thinking to Get More Done, he reveals his alter ego strategy to assume the right personality for the job. Sound psychotic? It’s not. Listen here!

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If you like what you hear, don’t forget to right-click, save, then place your Power of Slow badge of honor anywhere in your social media universe. We appreciate you spreading the word that slow is faster and that fast is merely exhausting!


If you’ve ever been to airports with automated speed walk sidewalks, you’ll observe that about fifteen feet before the sidewalk ends, you hear a voice alerting you to your pending expulsion from it. Not so for real sidewalks on the street.

Photo courtesy of Ohio State College of Engineering

According to a New York Times report, a recent Ohio State University study about texting while walking and the 1000 reported injuries incurred by texting walkers points to an increasing issue of pedestrian traffic safety.  Ohio State University’s Transportation and Parking department is trying to offset the rising epidemic by putting up signs such as the one pictured here.

Or, as I like to say, “You text? You’re next.” That goes for pedestrians as well as drivers.

I can see it now. Sidewalks will soon be equipped with textured flooring just to alert texting pedestrians that a curb is approaching. Or maybe they’ll have recordings of soothing, yet urgent voices like the ones at today’s airports, pointing the way to safety and attention.

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On Savoring

July 14, 2010

“Can we talk later?” My Munich friend breathed into the phone. She had just come off a three-week marathon music tour. She said she needed time to digest all that had happened over the past few weeks so we agreed to put off our conversation for another time.

It reminds me of what Renee Trudeau recently blogged about. She and I had talked at length about our work ~she’s in the ‘renewal business’, helping women live powerful lives while I’m about the business of time and what we do with it. We rarely allow ourselves to digest what it is that we experience. We consume, but do we absorb those experiences down to the fiber of our being?

She blogged about some of the thoughts provoked by our conversation. She writes:

What revelations might we all be missing because we’re yes, moving too fast, but also not creating big spaces of time in our lives to really allow ideas to deeply seep into our bones? To fully digest concepts that may surface, but are quickly swatted away, like pesky flies.

She is now on a delicious month-long writing sabbatical.

The creative process deserves (and demands) moments of quietude. To do things with the utmost of our being, we need beingness. I recently pushed off a creative assignment until the next morning, knowing it required my full creative awareness. I needed that deep listening that the birthing process of art demands. To capture it all hungrily is my ultimate desire. For that I need the silence of the deaf to truly listen.

Sound is something we are surrounded by. Anyone who comes to where I live remarks how truly quiet it is. I love the softness of the air, kissed by the trees that exhale our sustaining lifeforce. The sweet sound of silence enriches us all.

How might you quiet your mind today to all the white noise around you to savor your moments? It starts in the heart where your life’s truest purpose dwells.

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