Saturday, April 23, 2011

Simplicity and training

I love to train. I've known this about myself for a while now, but I could never really put my finger on exactly what it was. (It's a lot of things, but I had an aha moment today). Since having kids it's the only thing I will make time for for JUST ME and it really clears my head. Why? Why does it clear my head. Well I figured it out today.

Since returning from our WONDERFUL trip to Texas my head has been a mess. All over the place.. can't settle down.. can't focus and can't seem to be able to accomplish much of anything. It's like I my head was a tin can filled w/ marbles and someone was shaking it! Today I got on the spin bike at the gym and rode for 1.5 hours, took an hour long class then continued to spin for another hour. It was great. While I was on my own for the first 1.5 hours I listened to a book then after the class the instructor (a friend) stayed and rode and another triathlete happened to come and join us and we talked through the last hour. It was great. And after the ride my head was no longer a tin can and the marbles are gone.

Why is my head so clear after a good solid work out? Well, I'll tell you!

Because it's the only time I do just ONE thing and ONE thing only. My life is a chaotic mess and I'm scatter brained as it is. Okay, calling it a mess isn't fair... it's not a mess, but it's busy. The kids, the house, my odd jobs and my eclectic interests cause me to spin topsy turvy a lot. Generally speaking I enjoy this, but after a while it gets a bit crazy. Particularly if there has been a lull in workouts (as there was previous to our return from TX).

So everything I've been reading about simplicity has been talking about not just simplifying your surroundings by way of cutting the clutter, but also simplifying your life and it's processes. Getting rid of stuff has been no problem. I've never really been one to be too attached to stuff (I'm an army brat we moved a lot and didn't carry a ton of stuff around with us), but the simplifying life/processes is a challenge for me.

One book (The Power of Less by Leo Babauta) in particular talks about SINGLE-tasking instead of MULTI-tasking. It makes sense really... multitasking has you going all over the place getting a little bit of everything done, but not ALL of ONE thing. This is all well and good in theory, but is proving difficult for me to execute on! He goes so far as saying that you should downsize your goals to ONE, yep one, and when that one is done move to another... PRIORITIZING them and thus simplifying your life and tasks. This is a work in progress for me. I'm a born multitasker (and YES this means it takes me a long time to get stuff done... if I get it done at all... just ask my DAD! :D)

So what's the point? God, who knows huh? The point is that is that I do love to SINGLE task my workouts.. I feel balanced and strong when I do that... so I'm willing to BET that if I figured out how to SINGLE task in other aspects of my life I would feel BALANCED and STRONG there too! :)

I'm going to start small. I'm not ready to DROP to just ONE goal... I've got THREE biggies going right now, but I am going to start doing ONE thing at a time. I baked some bread last night while doing a bunch of other stuff and almost went to bed without actually baking it (it had been in the oven to rise). That would have made for some really crappy toast this a.m.

So you know what I'm doing right now? I'm writing a blog post. That's it. I'm not writing a blog post, eating breakfast, checking email, updating my facebook and twitter status, baking bread, coloring with the kids AND stretching all at the same time! Leo suggests turning off the internet when you sit down to do something on your computer that doesn't require web access... thus forcing yourself to SINGLE task! Give it a shot! It feels pretty good and it didn't take nearly as long to write this post as it usually does. I'm not saying it improves my quality of writing.... that will only come with practice!

So what do you do to simplify? Does a good workout knock the marbles out of your brain too?


  1. i think the idea of turning off the internet while working is the best ever! It will probably cut my production time in half. AWSOME!!!! I'd been using for FB and another site I check habitually... but it doesn't work all the time and has glitches. i never thought of just turning the freaking airport off!! YAY!
    Are you using a bread machine or doing the kneeding and stuff yourself?

  2. The beauty of mono-tasking. I'm like you: I train.

  3. Kelly I make the bread myself, but I use my stand mixer to do most of the work.

  4. I totally feel crazy if I don't get my training in, and I think you've pointed out a good reason why (along with the me time thing). I think that's a great idea to try and focus on one thing at a time. I feel like I'm always running around trying to do too many things!

  5. So, you were biking for 3.5 hours????!!!

  6. I am so a multi-tasker and like my sister said the other day - I'm not good at it! :) Workouts are my saving grace... it's me time to the fullest!