If you’re like me, your brain works hard during the day switching from one activity to another: solving issues, programming, interviewing, attending meetings, dealing with customers. If you had “one of these days”, by 5PM you might hear this permanent buzz in your head. I’ve read somewhere that a typical person thinks about something each and every moment while awake. Your thoughts may be jumping from one subject to another, but your brain works non stop.
So how to make your brain relax? You need to switch to a different activity that will keep you occupied. Based on my observations, people use workouts, meditation, or booze to clear their minds.
I’m not into sports, don’t like gyms, and my cycling machine is just sitting in the basement hopelessly waiting for me. I don’t know how to meditate. I don’t consume any alcohol while working.
I found a solution for myself, which may work for you too – I’m listening to audio books. It can’t be any audio book though. The trick is to listen to those books only that keep you focused on listening 100%. My personal discovery is hard-boiled detective stories by Lee Child, specifically the series about Jack Reacher.
I’m on my third novel now and it works just fine. Not that I knew beforehand that it’s a good way to relax, but my during my recent visit to Miami my friend Matt told me that he’s hooked on Jack Reacher stories, and I decided to give it a try. But for reading you have to sit or lie down in a quiet place, while listening can be done anywhere – while walking on the street, while driving a car or riding on the bus.
The first story was very interesting, but I was trying to listen to in in my usual multi-tasking mode while answering emails or browsing the Web. Pretty quickly I realized that it’s simply not possible. Not listening for 30 seconds makes you miss an important detail of the crime or investigation. Isn’t it what my brain needs? It has to be occupied with an activity that won’t allow switching to anything else!
The good news is that the series on Jack Reacher includes 17 books, and each one is about 14 hours long. The bad news is that this series will end soon, so I’ve started to look for another author that’s as good (for me) as Lee Child. My old friend Sergey from Israel suggested another author – Harlan Coben. If you know of someone else – please let me know.
Enough of blogging already. Yesterday I left Jack Reacher handcuffed on the truck with a kidnapped FBI agent. Sorry guys, gotta put my headphones on and cook eggs for breakfast.