Monthly Archives: March 2011

OmmWriter: You Had Me At Hello

by Lindsay Satterfield

In our multi-functional, there’s-an-app-for-that world, where your iPhone can practically make dinner for you and help you meditate, OmmWriter stands out in its bold simplicity – in its counter-culture, unapologetic single-mindedness. OmmWriter is about one thing and one thing only:  writing.

OmmWriter is a text editing program that may just surprise you with it’s alluring ability to bring pleasure back to something you may have blocks about, or dread, or feel  you just don’t have time for. And it may wow you with the uncanny and understated way it carves out a creative oasis to compose your thoughts – whether in a plane, a train, a Starbucks, a cube, or a busy day.

Instead of a thousand bells and whistles, it has just a few – just enough to create a productive ambiance without becoming distracting or the center of attention. The spotlight is on writing. Everything in its design is there to support your ability to focus and put your thoughts on the page. I bumped into OmmWriter on a blog post by Leo Babauta, author of the blog Zen Habits.  He mentioned it in passing. And in my part-curious, part-distracted way, I clicked on the link. Intrigued, I watched this video (Click here to view on separate (read: bigger) screen.)

And, honestly, I still didn’t get it entirely. But I was captivated.   And so, I downloaded the free software, and took it for a test drive. Then, I understood what all those gushing testimonials were about.

OmmWriter clears the deck of your computer screen of all those competing windows, and tabs, and buttons and noisy email notifications with a choice of a few backgrounds. The backgrounds become a visually pleasing and calming backdrop for the main feature: your words. A  few soundscape options build an invisible soundstage, creating a gentle barrier to the outside distractions, mayhem, and general busy-ness that can pull focus. There are a few choices for the sound of the typing itself, which, surprisingly, sets up a kind of pleasurable feedback loop while you write. More writing, more of that cool sound.

This video gives you a little more about the genesis and purpose of OmmWriter,  (Click here to open separate screen):

OmmWriter confirms what I see again and again with my clients and me: an environment of beauty and simplicity promotes focus and productivity.  Of course, this tool is great if writing is your main gig or hobby.  It’s also perfect for anyone that  has to string a few sentences together from time to time.  

Use it to compose that email that has to be concise, while addressing a complicated or senstive subject. Or for that paper.  Or for brainstrorming. Or for journaling. Or for making lists.  Or for your blog post.  Or for the simple fun of writing. 

And good news: they just came out with a version for all us Windows PC users. I have it pinned to my task bar and any time I’m going to write more than a few words, I enter the refreshing world of OmmWriter with one click. You can save your documents as text files. I just copy and paste into whatever medium they need to land in – such as Outlook email or Word.

Never mind what I say. Ultimately, the only way to truly get what the fuss is about is to download OmmWriter and give it a whirl.


A Little Help for the Time Change

It’s time to change time. In most locations in the US, we move our clocks ahead one hour tomorrow, Sunday, March 13, 2011.  Daylight Saving Time.  Seems pretty straightforward.  But for our finely tuned, light-calibrated bodies, it’s enough to throw off your game for several days – or longer.   It’s like flying in place.  Jet lag without going anywhere.   

Studies have shown  increases in heart attacks, traffic and workplace accidents, depression, and suicides when we move to daylight saving time – though it is not clear if there is a direct correlation.   Whatever the studies say, most of us have firsthand experience with what a shift in our sleep pattern can do to our mood, cognitive ability, performance and productivity. 

Here are some practical tips to cushion the shock of that “spring forward” and help your body adjust to its new local time zone:

Spend some time outdoors in natural light – especially in the morning – on Saturday, Sunday and, if possible, for the first few days after the change.   Apparently, this helps the circadian rhythm of the body acclimate to the shift in time.

Exercise, which releases serotonin and other hormones involved with regulating sleep.

Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.   Always a good idea, especially when the body is adapting.

Eat lighter meals for a few days – to let digestion adjust more easily. 

Go to sleep 15 minutes earlier for a few days to make up for the potential sleep deficit of possibly waking up earlier.  Some suggest keeping your same bedtime.

Change your clocks the night before so you start getting used to the new time before it happens, instead of after.  

Avoid over-scheduling yourself.  Again, always a good idea, especially when in transition.