No new gear to post about this month. So I decided that another topic might be appropriate and helpful in some way. Caught up in IT and other technical jobs, we are often pushed to “multi tasking” to get more done in a given amount of time. As humans, we absorb and process information from many senses, but when we act to do something, we compile the information necessary for the task at hand and focus on it for some period of time, then we refocus on something else. Whether its seconds, minutes or hours, we work on things one at a time.

Computers can multiplex all day long and be efficient at it, but humans tend to be less efficient and less focused when we multi task a lot. So we make more mistakes, it takes time to switch directions, remember where we were on that previous task and then start back up again. Some people can switch gears faster than others, but everyone accomplishes less, the more we try to multi task. I read that Einstein was a genius because he had the ability to focus on a specific problem until he found the solution, even if it took 15 years.

So exactly what is “Mindfulness” anyway, is it some form of meditation? Well not really, it can simply mean living in the moment and not dwelling on the past or being overly preoccupied about the future. One can choose to focus on their body, breathing, and heart rate to reduce stress. It can also be used to focus on other things, the outdoors for example.

Perhaps your taking a walk outside and maybe your stressed over work or your boss, so your thinking about all the stuff you have to do tomorrow. Instead, just absorb the sounds, smells and observe what is happening around you during the walk. Take a few minutes off auto pilot mode, by that I mean actually think about the walk itself. Turn off your cell phone and focus on your surroundings. The bird in tree, the butterflies and sound of your shoes on the ground.

Become more aware of your environment, what you can and cannot see. Animals and people that you might not otherwise notice. Look for patterns of symmetry, then look for irregularities. The goal being to just focus on being outdoors and the present experience, and what you’re feeling from all your senses. Notice what is going on around you, so that you are living and reacting to the moment. I think it’s a good way to relieve stress, and hopefully be a little safer and healthier.