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Little Breaks – Nerdful Mind #77

July 4, 2021 by Simon Mannes

I always knew that breaks are important.

But there is a difference between knowing, understanding, and internalizing.

When you know something, you can talk about it with others. You occasionally remind yourself of it. Practicing something you only know is necessary but hard, because you have to think of it every time and may need external reminders.

When you understand something, you embedded this knowledge into your own system of knowledge. It fits in with everything else that is in there and has a solid foundation. Practice here is easier. You often think about it and know how it should feel.

Then there's internalizing. When you internalize something, you intuitively feel whether it fits or it doesn't. And you can explain it based on your deep understanding (that's the difference to intuition).

So, while I knew for a long time that breaks are important, I only recently internalized this knowledge. I now feel when I need a break, accept I need a break, and then just take a break, short or long.

My workdays have gotten more productive as a result, because I don't feel bad for taking a break, and instead can just get back to work.

It's not perfect yet. I don't always feel the need for a pause. I don't always accept it, and I sometimes still feel bad about it.

Internalization happens when acceptance feels natural and letting go happens easily.

“No two persons can learn something and experience it in the same way.” ― Shannon L. Alder

Reading Recommendations

What I've Learned About Learning

“‘As an adult, I’ve learned a lot on my own. The stuff I’ve just read, I’ve mostly forgotten. But the stuff I’ve put into action by playing with it, by practicing, by creating and sharing with others — that stuff has stuck with me. I truly learned it.”

The Harsh Truth About Dopamine

“This may seem obvious, yet we are often exhorted to ‘get excited’ about something or another. It's helpful to remember that our ancestors did not survive by ‘getting excited.’ They survived by taking effective action. Our brain saves the dopamine for evidence that a reward is at hand.”

From Agile to systems thinking: lessons on company culture

“One day in 2010, I realised I was fed up with Agile. I was at the US Agile conference and for the nth time I listened to people argue over whether everyone should use story points for estimation or not. …”

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

I love noting exercises, so here’s a short noting meditation for you.

Sit down somewhere undisturbed for 5-10 minutes. Set a timer if you want.

Start by breathing in through the nose, then smile when breathing out. Close your eyes.

Now to the noting exercise. When you notice a thought coming up, gently label it “thought”. If you notice a feeling or bodily sensation, gently label it “feeling”.

If you notice your thoughts wander, that’s okay! Just think t0 yourself: “oh, thinking”, and let it be.

End Note

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Have a great week


PS: What do you think about this? Please reply and let me know. I'm curious!