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Learning to be at Home at Home

All these years you went out to work. You laboured day in and day out. Each day, you longed fondly to get back home. To your place. Your Space.

A crisis has now forced everyone to remain indoors.

 

Let’s assume there was no crisis, but you just decided to give yourself a much-needed break. It was your decision to stay home and do all the things you had been always wanting to do at home but simply didn’t have the time or the energy to get around to actually doing it. You took 21 days off from work. Miraculously the boss said yes!

 

Now, you are home.

And don’t know where to start

Here is what to do –

Step 1:

Take the next half an hour to list all the things you have wanted to do sitting at home. No need to prioritize. Just write what comes in your head. You have to write out at least 30 things. Here are some to get you started –

Declutter the house

Clean up the kitchen

Start learning the guitar (You have got one with all the intentions of learning it… it never came out of its cover)

Learn 10 new recipes

Answer all pending email

Workout

Do yoga and meditation

Learn how to use LinkedIn

Finish that presentation of the new workshop

Take your time and write out at least 30. Not 29. You have to have 30 or more. Even if it takes an hour to do it. Don’t go to Step 2 unless you have finished Step 1.

Step 2:

Give numbers to this list – now prioritize. If two things are the same priority for you, force rank them. Think like this – you can only do one of them, which one would you do? This takes a bit of thinking so give yourself enough time to do this.

Your list now reads something like this –

  1. Clean the kitchen
  2. Declutter the house
  3. Do Yoga and Meditation
  4. Workout
  5. Learn how to use LinkedIn
  6. Finish the presentation
  7. Learn the guitar
  8. Learn 10 new recipes
  9. Answer email

And so on.

Go over your list and ensure you have set the priorities right. Move things around if you wish to. Proceed to Step 3 only when you are sure you have got everything in the order you want.

Step 3

There is something called “Action Addiction”. Our brain releases a powerful chemical called Dopamine every time we get something done. Checked Whatsapp messages – done – dopamine. Went to Facebook, checked all stories – done – another dose of Dopamine. Watched the headlines of news today – done – more dopamine.

Dopamine gives you a high comparable to the one you could get with cocaine. It’s the brain’s way of rewarding you when you finish doing something. Unfortunately, and obviously, we become addicted to it. We then go through the entire day doing one small inconsequential thing after another to get those little squirts of Dopamine – This is Action Addiction. But, when we actually review the day, we find we have accomplished almost nothing, though we have been busy almost all the time.

This Dopamine addiction blinds us from the bigger picture. We get so caught up in doing these small, little things that we lose sight of the greater goals of our lives. We end up frustrated, angry and tired – I am doing so much, yet I don’t seem to be going anywhere.

To break this Dopamine Addiction, we created our prioritized list. Now we KNOW what is truly important for us and what is not. 80% of your “working” time needs to be spent solely on getting the first 5 things on the list done. You will not touch the rest of the stuff on your list until those 5 are sorted. The other 20% of your time is yours – to goof off or do whatever you wish with it. Once those 5 are done, take a bit of time to reassess the list. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 if required. Then take on the next 5.

Take Control

It’s a good idea to set work timings every day. Decide, I will finish my exercise/yoga/meditation before 9 am. Then, I will “work” from 9 am to 12 noon and then I will cook food and have lunch. I will rest till 3:30 pm and start “work” again from 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Then I will cook and have dinner. The evening is for whatever comes up, chilling, relaxing, talking to friends, reading…

Set a bedtime as well and zealously follow it. I will go to bed by 11 pm. Lights out and hit the bed. Don’t set an alarm. There is nowhere you need to go. Waking up naturally each day is one of the best things you can do for your health. A ringing alarm spikes blood pressure as your body rouses itself from deep slumber to wakefulness almost instantly – a process that should take at least 20 minutes or so. When you are stressed and things are not working well, in the worst-case scenario this could actually cause a heart attack. Get rid of those alarms. The timings you set for yourself can be adjusted a little bit here and there. Give yourself that bit of flexibility.

If there is one thing that’s critical during this time, it is rest. Give yourself all the time that you require to sleep and meditate. The second most important thing is exercise. For every 45 minutes you are sitting, get up and move about for 10-15 minutes. Do some stretches. Ensure you are having good healthy food. Avoid processed foods and anything remotely non-vegetarian.

Get off sugar. When I took my flight from Dehradun to Bangalore, I saw a man wearing gloves, having a mask on, drinking a fizzy drink. For the next few hours his immunity would be compromised because of the tons of sugar in that drink. No mask or gloves would be able to help his immune system.

All these will greatly build up your strength and more importantly your immunity.

Dopamine Hack

By the way, Dopamine can be used in a really cool way. Each of those first 5 things you have chosen to do can be broken down into smaller segments. For example, if Declutter the house is one of your things to be done on a priority, then it can be broken into Declutter the bedroom, then the attic, then the dining room and so on. When those subheadings are added under each heading and you deal with each of those subheadings one at a time, every time you finish a subheading, you will get your squirt of Dopamine. This makes you feel wonderful about yourself and keeps you going with greater motivation and enthusiasm.

You will be using Action Addiction to your advantage. You are still doing small things – only this time, these small things are adding up to one of the bigger things that you want done in your life.

Follow these steps and I guarantee that you will come out of this time of crisis as a winner.

Finally, it would be a great idea to set aside some of this time to think about what you truly want in your life. Make another list just like before and then give it numbers. You will be amazed that when you take the time to think it through, perhaps having a lot of money in the bank is not as high on your list as spending time with someone you care for, or going on a vacation with the family.

Then, you can begin to realign your actions, so that the things that are truly important get done and you are not spending your time doing a lot and getting nothing done. When you have this list sorted, you know you will be able to prioritize and get exactly what needs to be done when we all finally become social once again.

For now – Stay home, Stay Safe

Wash your hands 🙂

Don’t forget to be happy!

PS – If you wish to learn more about sleep, exercise and food among many other topics that can greatly optimize your life, refer to our book Happiness Express – A Journey to Everyday Well-Being. If you are starting out to learn something new after a long time, or simply want to make the enhance your learning experience, read our book Ready Study Go! – Smart Ways to Learn.

PPS – If you would like to be personally coached by Dinesh and/or me to follow these steps over the next month, then please write an email to me on khurshed@gmail.com – Note that we will be charging money for this program.

26 thoughts on “Learning to be at Home at Home

  1. Simple, clear and very well articulated. For this week I will try 1. sleeping on time, waking up without an alarm and 2. Having a schedule for my yoga and meditation. 🙂

  2. Very beautifully written😊 and at a time when most people are unhappy to stay and home and are thoroughly confused as to what to do with the time on hane😂😂

  3. Action addiction – I now know when and how I am getting stuck in it and how to get out of it. Thank you for this super lovely and informative piece of writing. As always, yayyyyy for the way you write.

  4. Dear Bau & Dinesh Sir!!
    Jai Gurudev!!😇
    I have learnt this technique from you both during Reality Reloaded session but somehow n unfortunately I was not following. After reading this, I have realised – many times we take up n dump our mind with lots of Knowledge n than we dont use in accurate & appropriate way as it has to be. Today, I have read this & recollect the Knowledge ,which I had gained from you both earlier. Now during this lockdown period i will utilise this technique in a proper way & definately will win the situation & my goals.
    Thank you so much Bau & Dinesh sir🙏💫
    With Love🍁🍫
    Purvi Desai😊

  5. It is really good step by step way to sort out the routine of lockdown time. Already started few things such as vegan cooking, baking, list of movies for day off from work because I am a health care worker. Fortunately being mother all other

  6. Thanks for this post BnD 🙂 Would love to read more! Also the Card tricks are brilliantly engaging and it’s nice to watch them instead of another gloomy news item on Insta…

  7. This looks and sounds interesting.What a great way to reorganise the chaotic mind during such an hour ..Am going to start right away.Also am going to make my family members be a part of this Learning to be at Home at Home.

  8. Action addiction !! Wow it’s amazing how these things happen to all of us but the way you observe organise and put it forward and reach it out to us is just outstanding bau !

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