June 3, 2013

Earth Nap

Let’s take a break from all this hledger stuff. I’ve been programming for about 30 years, and I’ve acquired - often the hard way - some tricks, tools and habits helpful for balance and productivity as a working programmer. We are all different, but I bet some of you could also use these. Here’s one - I’ll call it Earth Nap. It’s very simple:

  1. Find a patch of earth where you can lie down without being disturbed.

  2. Lie down. If possible, cover your eyes or head.

  3. Rest with eyes closed, doze, or nap for 5-30 minutes.

  4. Reactivate gently. Stretch, rub your face/hands/feet, roll up, maybe sing, shake out the cobwebs or walk a little.

A good time is after lunch, or early/mid/late afternoon. Or any time you feel fatigued, over-pressured, or burnt out. There is always time for a 5m break.

Direct contact between your skin and the earth is ideal. Lately I’ve done it on the beach and under a tree in a nearby quiet park - perfect. At my last client gig, I was onsite all day and there was no park and no quiet.. but there was an unused stair leading up to a small concrete landing where no one went. A few minutes in my secret lair made a big difference!

If you’re likely to sleep longer than 30m, set a gentle alarm (a deeper sleep rhythm kicks in after about 45 minutes which would leave you feeling groggy). Or, just watch/trust your body/mind’s natural napping cycle. It’s not necessary to fall asleep. You may notice yourself sink into a dozing/free association/dreaming state, then return to wakefulness.

Each time you do this, observe the effects. You might notice: