Hey Brain, Chill

Starting this past New Years, I decided to spend an hour every day reading, and 15 minutes practicing my handwriting. Here's what I found out.

Starting this past New Years, I decided to spend an hour every day reading, and 15 minutes practicing my handwriting.

A couple of interesting observations here. First, my writing drastically improved within only a few weeks. My handwriting hadn't always been so terrible. In my earlier days I was a drafter, first by hand and then in AutoCAD. I spend a significant amount of time at the whiteboard these days, running retros, mind mapping and the like. I'm not exactly sure where my penmanship went off the rails, but I desperately wanted it to get back on track. In my mind, there's a certain amount of credibility associated with someone whose writing is legible and visually attractive. After only 3 weeks, I was attending a leadership conference, and someone actually commented on my handwriting. I was stunned as I stepped back for a minute from the whiteboard and noticed. It did, indeed, look pretty darn good. Not a bad way to spend 15 minutes a day.

The other part was reading. I'm a slow reader, I always have been... but the speed at which I read has never been a problem. I mostly (entirely) read non-fiction, and I need to time to let it sink in. Now, I didn't start reading at night in bed for an hour, I blocked off an hour in the middle of the workday to read something work related. Management, leadership, motivation and process books are the typical fare. I soon observed myself being much more productive in the afternoon. Taking an hour and forcing my brain check out of email and chat and texts seemed to do a reset and allowed me to become more motivated and focused in the afternoon hours.

I'd highly suggest anyone who gets stuck in the afternoon grind to block off some midday time to turn off notifications and just slowwwww down a bit.