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Jigsaw Puzzles. Non-Stories. The Focused Life?

My father-in-law is 93 and really sharp. One thing he does to keep sharp: jigsaw puzzles. He times himself and works them serenely but with focus.

The mental exercise drips with lessons explored by Dr. Kevin Majerjes at Optimal Work: short bursts of sustained focus, little goals that keep you motivated during the burst, engagement in an activity that lessens the desire to multitask.

Jigsaw puzzles have a lot of benefits (touched upon here). I'm not inclined to start doing jigsaw puzzles, but I have started something similar: writing "non-stories" within tight time constraints (30 minutes, normally). I find an article at the Spectator or Epoch Times that I like, then sit down and write a non-story about it in 30 minutes. Sometimes, I find interesting material from a book and do the same thing.

think the effect is kind of the same thing that my father-in-law achieves with his jigsaw puzzles. Short burst, the little goal of "putting together" the first draft of the article within 30 minutes, a lighter activity (they're written like newspaper articles, not weighty essays) that sustains focus.

Anyway, my Botox piece came from the SpectatorThe non-story about winter resolutions came from The Epoch TimesThe non-story about the magician came from the (surprisingly interesting and fun) Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures.