Sixty minutes, two times a day, 5 days per week = 10 HOURS. That’s the amount of time I spend commuting each week. I try to make the most out of that time. As of late, I phased out listening to my usual politics podcasts because, well, it was getting toxic. Then I discovered the value of choosing to think about one thing for one hour during my commute. I’ve been using this time to think creatively. I start by selecting from a mental menu of options to think about.
Once seated on my train, I close my eyes, with nature sounds on my headphones, and think about one thing. For example, I imagined a simple object I wanted to paint. I could see that object in my mind and moved it around to see it with varying perspectives. At the same time I ask myself how can I use this to tell a compelling story or idea. The nice thing with your imagination is that you can erase anything and start over pretty easily. Using imagery is one way to stay in the present moment. It can be a tool to create or accomplish a goal, but it doesn’t have to be.
We often talk about intentional living, but what about intentional thinking? Our minds don’t have to be a jumble of random thoughts and worries. We do have some degree of control. People often say “don’t worry”, but they don’t tell you how to do that. This is just one way that has been helpful for me. It probably won’t stand up to overwhelming problems, but can be a small dose of peace in an otherwise stressful work week.
Here are a few ideas to think-one-thing-for-one-hour:
- think about one full meal to cook this weekend.
- think about the last book you enjoyed reading and how you might describe it to a friend.
- think about something you’ve been meaning to say to someone and different ways you could say it.
- think about a brand new combination of your existing clothes for your next outfit.
- think about 20 things you can remove from your home.
- think about every way you can re-arrange your furniture.
- think about different ways to write a birthday card to your friends and family.
The possibilities are endless; it can address a simple problem, be neutral, peaceful, creative, and fun. The only requirement is that it remain a constructive process. If your mind strays, you will catch yourself, non-judgmentally, and go back to that one thing. This isn’t exactly mindfulness; Real mindfulness is actually very hard to maintain for any extended period of time for most people. And it’s not meditation either. It’s very much task oriented, something that comes easy to most people. It keeps you in the present moment, which is hard, but really one the most valuable things in life.
Do you have any ideas to think-one-thing-for-one-hour?
I hope you enjoy your thoughts today!
[image: my apartment wall]