Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Keeping my focus is my consistent challenge as I get older.  Some days, I think I am developing ADD. Maybe it's been lying dormant all these years, coming to the surface as the host conditions optimize.  I begin to work, and think of a book I want to use for an upcoming presentation.  Better take it out now, or I'll forget.  Well, why not leaf through it, skim a few pages, search out the favorite passages.  Whoops--now I have an idea that I'd better write down, or it will be gone, too.  Never mind bringing up  my home page with all sorts of fascinating articles leading me ever further away from---oh, yes, the task at hand.

Which reminds me--I am having trouble maintaining my focus.  Right.  Almost all of my projects now require sitting for protracted periods, mostly in front of a computer.  I play with ideas all day long, and love it.  My body likes it less.  My shoulder complains, my back starts to chime in, the legs cramp up, and soon, it's a cacophony of protest that resolves itself into one word--Move!

So, every hour or so, I stop to move around.  Planned movement never occurred to me while I was in the classroom and moving every second of every day, rarely sitting down.  Now, however, movement must be timed and integrated into the day.  I am wearing a path in the rug between my office chair and the opposite wall in the corner of the office library where I work, stopping for sets of deep knee bends and heel-toe calf stretches.  Back and forth along that path, sometimes mulling over a thorny issue, sometimes planning part of a project, or, like today, reading a few pages of my current novel.  I take many opportunities to fetch documents from the photocopier.  Why go once, when several trips will do?  Tea adds ambiance, as well, and I have to walk to the kitchen for that.

At home, integrating movement is just as vital but demands less creativity.  After all, after an hour at the computer, I can reward myself with twenty minutes at the piano.  I can put in a load of laundry, then throw it in the dryer, and, finally, sort and fold when it's done.  In ten minutes, I can straighten out a drawer or chop vegetables  for the evening stir-fry.  Four or five times up and down the stairs does wonders for the concentration.

The consequences of moving, or not moving, are huge.  More movement, more calories used, more muscle tone, more brain activity, more ideas, more excitement, more concentration, more focus.  Yes!

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