Integrated Bundling

Day 206 Week 29 Q3 Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Creative outliers have many interests. They, or rather we, are a curious bunch in both ways. To the world, we may seem to be curious, and we ourselves are unusually curious about what we perceive and encounter. One way to slow down enough to smell the roses can be to integrate two different activities, and no, I am not talking about multitasking, although it might appear to take that form.

As an example, I play several instruments, and to take the time to practice them all to attempt to stay at a high level of proficiency would consume more hours than are ever available, so here are a few integrated bundling things I do.

First, if I go to bed too late to get up early and get up early anyway, there is a bit of a sleep deficit which is elegantly handled by keeping my eyes closed and playing the guitar. It combines a few things. I do not necessarily try to play anything in particular, so what comes out can be new material or old material played in new ways or just pieces of musical ideas, but the vibrations I am creating realign my internal site and by the way I tend to usually do this on an electric guitar which is not plugged in as it I too early in the morning to make noise and would be counterproductive to integrated bundling. 

The results of this single activity are not only getting blissed out in a musically induced meditative state, but it also keeps my musical muscle memory and creates new musical muscle memory and sometimes gives me ideas for compositions. I get so blissed out that when sleep-deprived, I fall asleep and recover that extra hour or so needed to have a full night’s sleep. This is one of my most useful bundles – it advances my life as a composer, as a performer, and as well rested person, gets me some meditation and stress reduction and also makes up for needed sleep. And the amount of time this takes can vary between five and 90 minutes, depending on how much of the above is in play.

Sometimes this leads to falling asleep and other times, it leads to plugging in the instrument and listening through headphones at volume levels appropriate to the time of day and context. Other times it leads to plugging into an amplifier and playing a concert for myself and whoever might be around and in the vicinity, and other times it leads to recording either new or old ideas.

Once this stream of consciousness is captured, I can choose to review either right there right after I do it, or in the car driving to the gym or an appointment or eating until I get to the gym and am doing some exercise where the listening makes the effort of the exercise vanish and I find myself with a better and longer workout.

This relatively tiny activity improves my sleep, my exercise regime, my stress relieving and meditative state and supports me in being a composer and a performer simultaneously. Furthermore, it sometimes causes lyrics to pop into my head to solidify the emerging patterns further or to solidify musical discoveries about intervals or timbre or registers, all of which increase the quality of musicianship.

The positive outcomes are so numerous that I often bring a guitar with me when I go on business or personal trips. This used to be a lot easier on airplanes than it is now, but when the trip is automobile-based, it is a piece of cake.

This example of integrated bundling is particularly useful and effective for me. I am sure there are ways that you can combine desired activities into an integrated bundle that supports who you are and what you need. And the best part is this has now become habituated, so it takes no effort to do it. I just do it automatically in the morning, and sometimes like this morning, the real effort is to stop because it feels so right and productive. This is one reason why it can range from five to ninety minutes but is well worth it. Even though it may make me late on other tasks I would like to get done; the habit is so useful and automatic that it does not pay to interfere with it.

Oh, and by the way, did I mention it is really worth expressing yourself daily, especially if you are a creative outlier? It is casting a vote in favor of your identity every day, so you are becoming more and more who you really are with compound interest which is fabulous!