A favorite idea that came from my yoga teacher training is also a simple one: take time to let go of what ever you were doing before going in to teach your yoga class. I've heard this described primarily in terms of physical ritual: washing hands and feet, getting to the yoga studio early, etc.
But I've been thinking a bit lately about my walks and my use of my smart phone while walking. I was a late smart phone adopter, so at my last job, when I lived in an apartment near school, I had the opportunity to walk 30 minutes to and from work on the days that I was not lazy and 10 minutes to and from my parking space when I was lazy.
Now, I have to say, I do love my smartphone. When I go on jogs (boring for me when done alone), I revel in the technological wonder that is my phone as I use it to track my mileage and pace, listen to a podcast, and when there is a quail on the path (hooray!), to stop, take a photo, and email the photo to my quailless family living on the other coast.
And yet. On those walks to work pre-smart phone--Let's call them dumb walks--I did a lot of thinking. Often this thinking prepared me for where I was going. If headed to a meeting, I could work out some ideas. If headed to teach, I often fine tuned or generated new material for lesson plans.
Lately, when I walk to campus with my phone in my hand, I'm either listening to a podcast or checking email (as though any that came in before leaving the house and arriving at the office could be so so urgent). What I'm not doing, to return to the ritual before starting yoga teaching, is allowing myself to "come into the space" of wherever I'm going. Instead, the shift is abrupt: phone off lecture begun; stop listening to serial, start writing.
So, while I'm not giving up my smartphone, I do want to start reclaiming a little strategic dumb time for myself. I do love a good podcast, so I'll start small--letting the walk to teach be a time free from other stimulation, bringing my focus to the task at hand.
Get a Life, PhD
The Professor is In
The Thesis Whisperer
Tenure, She Wrote