Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“One of the biggest stumbling blocks when trying to initiate an action is getting started.
I like to think of it in terms of ‘mental chunking‘. The larger a chunk you mentally represent an action as, the harder an obstacle it seems to overcome, so the harder it is to get started. Human beings seem to have an uncanny ability to create and exaggerate mental obstacles for themselves.
Building on that, what’s the difference between a 20-minute block of time and four 5-minute block of time? On the surface, there isn’t any. But in terms of mental chunking, the difference is huge.
This can be used strategically.”
“Think in 5-minute time blocks.
There are several benefits to it.
Let’s take meditation. The small chunks make it more likely to initiate the practice. The end of a 5-minute block can serve as a reminder to bring your wandering attention back to your ‘anchor’, your point of focus.”
“Like a ‘backup anchor’.”
Focusing on meditation as a practice, you can (metaphorically) think of the blocks as rep[etition]s. This can give a better sense of progress: ‘I’ve completed one more rep’. If your attention was completely off focus during a rep, if time allows, you can squeeze one more rep in. It’s also a way to create small wins throughout the day.
For me however, the most important benefit is that you can make each 5-minute block themed. For instance, you can have one dedicated to affirmations, one to gratitude, etc. You can think of them as modules. Even better, you can think of them as reusable modules, which you can combine and play with to create beautiful structures.
For instance you can alternate still and moving meditation blocks, creating a beautiful oscillation. Or you can have a balancing-meditation block, followed by tree-climbing-meditation block, followed by one whose theme is contemplation of Beauty.”
“What if I wanted to use 10-minute blocks?”
“The length of the blocks is not set in stone. It’s just one more parameter to play and experiment with.”