behavior · creativity · happiness · writing

Finding time to do what you love is harder than it sounds

Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

Shared by Orangette and What The Cool Kids Are Reading, an article by Anne Lamott about finding time to do the activities that truly fulfill you:

…creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing, bird-watching, or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the incalculable wealth of time spent quietly in beauty.

…the bad news: You have to make time to do this.

This means you have to grasp that your manic forms of connectivity—cell phone, email, text, Twitter—steal most chances of lasting connection or amazement. That multitasking can argue a wasted life. That a close friendship is worth more than material success.

more via Finding time –

It’s harder than it sounds theoretically (I can certainly testify to that), but I also agree with Lamott that it is sooo worth carving out time for.

What are you willing to give up in order to achieve your creativity goals? So far I have given up what little TV I already watched and this week living off the giant roast and yams I made on Sunday (it’s now Thursday), rather than attempting to create a brand new gourmet meal every night.

What are you willing to sacrifice in order to get the creative need filled?

behavior · environment · Social · technology · youtube

YouTube – RSA Animate – The Secret Powers of Time

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Philip Zimbardo. Image by Kanaka Menehune via Flickr

Professor Philip Zimbardo conveys how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Zimbardo argues in this lecture that time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world.

I love the Silician Poet’s comment. I’d also be interested to hear what people’s thoughts are, especially if they speak the Sicilian dialect.

via YouTube – RSA Animate – The Secret Powers of Time.


behavior · brain · creativity · culture · happiness · health · mental health · play · Social

Playing is good for work productivity

Editor’s Note: Hi! I just wanted to take a minute to acknowledge that this post is VERY similar to a  post this week on the blog of digital agency Plexipixel. That’s because they were BOTH written by me, but I didn’t want to plagiarize my own work. For the original version of this post, check out their site.

The title of this blog post sums up the entire concept. There’s no other way to say it: you need to play to be a productive member of society.

However, this idea doesn’t seem to be sticking. 

The perception in America is that the harder and longer you work, the more productive you’ll be. Especially now when jobs are scarce and companies are holding on by the skin of their teeth, people sacrifice play, exercise, and good old legitimate downtime, not to mention sleep (September 30th was National Coffee Day!), to get more work done.

But it turns out we weren’t built to work that way. We need breaks, we need downtime, and we most certainly need to cut loose and be a little silly every once in awhile. As biology professor Robert Sapolsky pointed out in his book “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers,” occasional stress is good – it makes sure we get that report in on time and we are aware of our surroundings in a new city. But constant stress just wears us down.

Several studies have found that play increases new ideas and overall productivity at work. Germans, and other European countries, have more vacation time than Americans, and yet have overall higher productivity, according to data presented in an article in Open Forum. The O.E.C.D. put Americans at 1,804 work hours a year on average and the Germans at 1,436 hours in 2006.Author Thomas Geoghegan believes that Americans weren’t always this overworked. In an interview, Geoghegan explains that in the 1960’s, Americans spent more vacation time than they do now, and many people in their 50s or 60s will tell you that they take less vacation time than their parents did. In the same New York Times article, another commenter noted that Americans view time as a currency in the workplace, as opposed to output, whereas Germans view results as the biggest indicator of results.

And it’s not just time away from work that’s rejuvenating. Repeated research has found that play increases new ideas and overall productivity at work. Psychology Today reports that telling stories and jokes makes us better writers. It also reports that even a little bit of physical play or just boring old exercise – a brisk walk around the block three times a week – fights depression. 

New business, products, and companies stem from play. The t-shirt company Threadless, for example, started off 10 years ago as a hobby. The company has since grown to employ 80 workers, but Jake Nickell, founder and chief strategy officer, “has made sure playtime remains a part of company culture. Shooting a potato gun at plastic parachute guys is a way to relieve stress.”

 Pamela Meyer, author of “From Workspace to Playspace: Innovating, Learning and Changing through Dynamic Engagement,” agrees that taking time out for fun is a good workplace practice.

“This idea of play space is very much a key part of business success” because it fosters dynamic employee engagement, said Meyer in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. “Companies that engage their workers by giving them space to create, try new roles or test new ideas benefit from higher employee retention, greater productivity and better financial returns.”

So, to re-re-emphasize my point: Go play, it’s good for your work.


Quantum physics for the win!

This has nothing to do with anthropology, it’s just awesome!

New quantum theories are messing with time!!! Holy cow (originally posted on Scientific American):
The main story ” Splitting Time from Space—New Quantum Theory Topples Einstein’s Spacetime,” describes recent excitement over a quantum theory of gravity proposed by physicist Petr HoYava of the University of California, Berkeley. Testing theories of quantum gravity in the laboratory is not possible, but computer simulations may offer the next best thing—and they seem to be lending support to HoYava gravity.
Jan Ambjørn of the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen and his colleagues have been using computer simulations to model quantum gravity based on spacetimes built from self-organizing “motes” that fall into place naturally.
So far, they have succeeded in creating a stable four-dimensional spacetime, when viewed at large distances. But when they zoomed in to small distances, they found a strange result—their universe seems to drop two dimensions. So where did the missing dimensions go?
HoYava believes that this dimension drop marks the point at which general relativity emerges in his theory of gravity. In his model, the shackles that force time and space to stretch in unison are removed at high energies and short distances. In a paper published in Physical Review Letters in April, he explains that within this regime, space stretches only a third as quickly as time. “The three spatial dimensions effectively mimic just one normal relativistic dimension,” he says, making it look as though two dimensions have vanished.