Inner Space
Hi, I’m Diana Demco and this is the Inner Space newsletter about my reflections on living an examined life. If you're new, you can find old editions here. You're getting this email because you signed up on my website. If you'd like to unsubscribe, click here.
A few days ago I was watching exercise scientist Andy Galpin, PhD on the Huberman Lab podcast and around the 1h mark, he introduced a rule that sparked my interest.

He recalls how, because of all the commitments that go into running a business, he and his colleagues had to come up with a rule to make sure they don't neglect their training. The rule is simple: every day at 3pm, they Drop Everything And Train. Hence the name of the rule: DEAT.

This reminded me of the "in case of emergency, break glass" signs. It's a way of overriding your default schedule or way of being to prioritize what is important, but that might slip through the cracks, because of other commitments.

As Andrew Huberman quickly pointed out, this rule can be applied to any area of life. Simple swap the verb at the end for the activity you want to prioritize no matter what. Galpin suggested the rule can be applied to reading, breathing or playing, among countless other things.

I think this rule can come in handy for anyone who finds themselves absorbed in busywork and endless tasks, drowning in projects and responsibilities. Maybe your dog needs walking, or a work deadline is approaching, or dinner needs to be prepared. Or all three. And amidst all this, you still didn't find 10 minutes to meditate. Every task will be right there waiting for you when you're done, so you might as well... drop everything and meditate.

(Although it may feel selfish and irresponsible to abandon your work and focus on yourself, it's also important to realize that taking that break might make the difference between delivering an okay-ish outcome vs an excellent one, because you're refreshed and replenished).

I see this rule as breaking the glass in case of emergency. Of course there's no real emergency, but its ethos is similar. It's still a breaking that happens. A breaking of pattern, activity, habit.
We're taking a stance and saying: "this is important and I'm doing it now."

The rule has 2 components to it:
  • the trigger
  • the action
The trigger can be:
  • a specific time: 3pm
  • a specific duration: you've haven't taken a break from work in 3h
  • a specific feeling: overwhelm, stress, anxiety
  • a specific place: the park, the garage, the kitchen
The action can be anything from reading to running a mile or calling a friend.

What rule(s) would you implement for yourself?

Timeless Content

The Ultimate Productivity Hack is Saying No
James Clear | 7 minute read
In this article James Clear explores the difference between saying "yes" and saying "no," offers suggestions for how to graciously refuse a request and how to determine when to go for it. I find it increasingly relevant to learn how and when to say no, given that our culture emphasizes doing over non-doing, and many people may end up with their fingers in many metaphorical pies.

Picture of the Week

Pillars of Creation
This majestic image taken by JWST depicts stars forming within clouds of gas and dust
Pillars of creation
Source: NASA

Quote I'm reflecting on

Leo Tolstoy on progress in life:

People usually think that progress consists in the increase of knowledge, in the improvement of life, but that isn't so. Progress consists only in the greater clarification of answers to the basic questions of life. The truth is always accessible to a man. It can't be otherwise, because a man's soul is a divine spark, the truth itself. It's only a matter of removing from this divine spark (the truth) everything that obscures it. Progress consists, not in the increase of truth, but in freeing it from its wrappings. The truth is obtained like gold, not by letting it grow bigger, but by washing off from it everything that isn't gold.

Question for you to ponder

Are you the person the 2022 version of you wanted you to be?
Thank you for reading.

Until next time,
To respond to this email, just hit reply. I'd love to hear from you.

If you think someone you know might enjoy this newsletter, feel free to share it. If someone else forwarded this to you, you can subscribe here.
Email Marketing Powered by MailPoet