Mental in practice image

Mental in practice

The next (and final) post will discuss some of the theory underlying mental effectiveness, as well as some of my own reflections on the series as a whole. But first, this post has practical reflections from two participants in the Personal Effectiveness Project.1

Here’s the core of Anna’s post.

“The area I knew almost straight away I need to focus on is reducing distractions…as my ‘work’ involves being home all day trying to write a thesis and battle writer’s block, I find myself during the day constantly procrastinating/being distracted by emails, Skype and the internet. But I realised that addressing this area would probably also help me prioritise the way I am spending my time, and hopefully help maximise ‘space’ to allow creativity to happen.
So I resolved to only check emails thrice a day – in the morning *after* my devotion; at lunch; and once in the evening. This compares to my previous habit of checking emails/internet as soon as I wake up, straight before going to sleep, and as often as I felt like during the day, usually when I could have been using my time working efficiently or resting productively.
I’ve found this challenge pretty hard, two weeks in…at least making the resolution made me more aware, on the days I’ve done well, at how much of a difference this behavioural change could make to my efficiency. But I do often find myself just wanting to ‘connect’ with the world – with my family overseas, with friends in town, with anyone really. So I’m learning that I want/need to be be spending much more time on my knees with God, finding my fullness and connection with Him, rather than looking for it elsewhere. I’m also learning that self-control is a gift of the Spirit – so being constantly in prayer is going to be really key in changing not just this habit, but other habits as I continue to look for ways to apply this seminar series to all areas of my life.
PS: here’s the marshmallow video

If you want to know why Anna put in the PS, read the next and final post in this series!
The title Martin gave to his post was “SMART casual”, the first word being a reference to my exhortation that participants set SMART goals, i.e.:
• Specific
• Measurable
• Action oriented
• Realistic (some say Relevant)
• Time-bound
Here’s the last part of Martin’s post.

“Meditation and mindfulness seems to be all the rage at the moment; on one of my commutes, an ex Buddhist monk was on the radio, trying to persuade Steve Wright and the nation of the benefits of finding ‘head space’ and offering some non religious techniques for the beginners.  I have to say all of this left me cold with no desire to try meditation for meditation’s sake.  I found myself contemplating 1 Corinthians chapter 2 which acknowledges the truth that only the spirit of any man knows the thoughts of that same man (verse 11); this seems to me the truth level at which most meditation works, namely that there is a connection between mind and Spirit (surely for Christians this is a given and not a new and exciting revelation).  It is the rest of the chapter that excites me as a believer, because it goes beyond this pretty obvious truth about us as humans, to make a more interesting claim, that the same applies with God too; “In the same way no-one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God ”.  The lovely logic unfolds as we contemplate our status as children of God, who have the Spirit of God, because of the work of Christ, to the explosive conclusion of the chapter “But we have the mind of Christ”.  This wonderful passage has in itself given me fresh motivation to wrestle again with making time for a meditative quiet time with the Lord each day, to cherish his Spirit within me, changing my spirit as I pay more attention to what is on His mind and His heart; this is not something to be casual about, but something to be deeply in awe of and grateful for.”

Amen! As we meditate on God and his word, the Spirit of God at work in us, who have the mind of Christ. The mind as it should be, mental effectiveness par excellence!


  • 1 A pilot of the Personal Effectiveness Project ran between January and June 2011 at Emmanuel Church, Oxford. For more information please visit the Personal Effectiveness website.

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