Did you know there’s a depth where even the most cork-like of us will head straight to Davy Jones’ locker? This concept, called “negative buoyancy,” was described to me by a wiry, tattooed, fat-free, superhuman of a free diver (hold breath, go deep) whose passion is sinking. Where the plummeting begins depends on body type, but like other laws of physics, it applies to everyone.
This got me thinking; it’s not only aquatic environments where there’s a threshold that, once eclipsed, leads to the bottom. Floating’s tricky (no one signs up for sinking lessons) and with constant connectivity tethered to our waist like an anvil, leaky holes in our work-life boundaries and storms constantly on the horizon, we’re struggling to keep our heads above water. Staying on top means considering how to manage the factors conspiring to drown us.
For instance, at what point does our attention succumb to distraction? How many devices can we be using, conversations can we be involved in or tasks can we be working on before we “black out”? We can tell ourselves that multitasking buoys us up, but multitasking lowers our I.Q. and slows us down. Try making a not-to-do list or working in focused bursts to conserve energy and work efficiently.
What about drowning in social media and other screen related distractions? We constantly talk about how busy we are while burning an average of 12 hours a day on digital media. Make priorities, stay focused on completing them and turn off digital distractions. Then there’ll be more time to float around enjoying the water.
Sinking is easy, but learning to float takes practice. We have to train our brain to focus where we want and stay there. Meditation, exercise and unplugged activity are all great ways to work on keeping our attention rapt and our efforts on course.
When it feels like the buoyancy meter is going negative, try pausing the action, taking a deep breath and identifying what’s dragging you down. This takes practice, but unless we aspire to be free divers, learning how to keep our head above the waterline is way better than sinking.