Recently I have read a piece by Leo Babauta about living more Zen like, or to put it in a less prejudiced way, to live more calm. The post I read which struck me was 12 Essential Rules to Live More Like a Zen Monk. It is a list of things to live in a more relaxed way, but there are a few points that I would like to share my thoughts on.
The first point states that you should do one thing at the time, followed by the point that you should do this task slowly and deliberately. These two points already made me change the way I live my life; allow me to explain.
Deliberating your actions, to me, means that you think about every action you take; writing something, choosing what you want to cook for dinner or even pouring water for tea. Think about these things before you act out; the often quoted and even more often ignored statement ‘think before you act’ comes to mind. Think about what you want to write and what style. Think about the spices and ingredients before cooking, the taste you want to achieve, what order to prepare the things in and arrange what you need, ingredients, pans etc., and set them on the counter before cooking. Think about your tea, the type of tea, how you pour the water in your cup and about where you are going to drink it. Thinking thoroughly about your actions accomplishes the first point on the list; one thing at the time. Physically and mentally, one thing at a time.
But it has a far more interesting and satisfying effect. Deliberating these thoughts sets a goal. A small goal, but still a goal. And because you focus on this one thing, this goal becomes the main thing in your head. Completing your task, even pouring water, results in satisfaction and a general happy feeling. The ecstasy that results from completing a task becomes a daily joy. To me this made everyday tasks joyful and satisfying, and made me much less lethargic.
Doing less and doing it slower made me achieve more, reach deadlines for my university courses faster and allowed me to completely finish the things I need to do. I was fantastic at starting seven things at once, stressing out about finishing them and eventually only finishing two of them. This has all changed.
Keep in mind that every task and assignment has an end; everything you do completes at a point where you can start the next thing to do. So do not worry about the other tasks while doing one task, it will all be finished as long as you deliberate your actions and do your things as you plan them. A way of life that, to me, made me see the over-hasted way of modern life and made me appreciate everything in my life more.