The Art of Workbathing

I watched a wonderfully relaxing two-hour video the other day from . Made by the inspiring Kirsten Dirksen (of Tiny House fame) and husband Nicolás Boullosa, it is an account of their road trip through the USA in a VW camper van with their three young children. The film allows the family to fully experience life in a very small space and examine how attached we are to property and our stuff.

Apart from being extraordinarily relaxing, the film also contains some fascinating reflections, particularly from Spaniard Boullosa. One of his observations really hit home for me. He was talking about the difference between deep REM sleep and fitful dozing. We all know what that feels like. but then he compared it to being fully immersed in a work project as against dealing a stream of constant interruptions.

I had never thought of this. Of course I am aware of the dangers of multi tasking and never being able to fully focus on one topic, but to compare this to deep relaxing sleep as opposed to restless napping was quite brilliant and striking.

He went on to say that being in nature has much the same effect and that in Japan there was a culture of forest bathing, where people allowed themselves to be surrounded by nature and all its sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Don’t you just love the expression “forest bathing”?

How many of us these days, with email, twitter, facebook, web surfing, rolling news and God knows what else ever really get completely immersed in something, transported to another world, are truly “in the zone”? Yet that is where miracles happen and breakthroughs are made.

Time management books often advise us to make lists, break tasks into small steps, spend a brief time each day on a number of different things. That may help us plough through the workload, but does nothing for our poor distracted minds.

So I am going to try “work bathing”. Immersing myself totally in a piece of writing with no distractions until my mind stills and the muse takes over. My monkey mind will object big time, but I hope with practice it will calm down and cease its endless quest for entertainment and distraction. It looks like it might be worth the struggle.