Sometimes we need to imagine hearing cries for help, or visualise stop signs or even train wrecks to realize just how busy and distracted we make our lives.
What would make you stop, right NOW, and focus your complete, undivided attention? An accident, bad news, spontaneous laughter, your kid’s excited pronouncement that they made the team? (‘that’s great dear’ you might find yourself saying, eyes still fixed on a screen, until you realize!).
How often do we really stop to concentrate?
This multi-tasking Mum thing is either a myth or a misery I reckon. Do one thing well (or at least fully), then do the next thing.
Here are some tips that I’m trying to follow:
Close your windows
(not the house kind, but the computer variety) – How many windows do you have open at any one time? Seriously, I’ll have multiple programs, documents, and browser windows open (sometimes up to 20 different pages minimized) at any one time. The result is overload and disconnect. Try closing all but the one window you want to engage with, and engage with it.
A tennis ball can be sweet torture
Seriously, one little tennis ball can cause quite a bit of pain, and open you up to healing if you just surrender. Grab a tennis ball and lie down on the floor or a yoga mat. Roll on top of the ball until you hit a spot (believe me there will be several) in your upper butt/hips/lower back region and surrender into that pain. Focus on it, for 30 seconds, 1 minute, 3 minutes – however long it takes for you to feel it start to dissipate. Then find another sweet spot. Find several spots, several times a week and over time you’ll notice the difference – as one of my yoga teachers is fond of saying ‘the issues are in the tissues’.
Listen with your eyes closed
I’m talking about music or during a phone conversation, because to truly listen in a face-to-face conversation requires tuning into the non-verbals too. But closing your eyes when you’re on the phone will help you tune out your own environment and focus on the other person’s words. And if you close your eyes while listening to your favourite music you might just see lyrics dancing in your head.
Chew your food
I’m talking eating meditation here. Savour each mouthful. Swirl the food around in your mouth, tantalise your tastebuds and chew fully to aid digestion but also appreciation and focus. You could even try chopsticks if you want to slow things down – try one grain of rice at a time!
I’m a firm believer that if we all prepared our food with love, ate it with people we love and truly tried to enjoy our meals together, then we’d go a long way to solving obesity and other food issues in our society.
Imagine you’re on dial up
Can you even remember the days when you had to dial up an internet connection? You rationed email and online time. Time management people will give you tips on scheduling in email reading (making calendar appointments for it) and reading and dealing with it simultaneously (not coming back to it again and again). One simple thing I find helpful is turning off notifications (no email pinging in your inbox or FB message popping up). And why not just wait and watch the circle go around and around or the bar inch forward while you are downloading (maybe not a movie but at least smaller files). Think of how much faster downloads are than they used to be. Chill!
Swap instant for present!
Pick up a pen
How’s your handwriting these days? Pretty bad if you’re like me. There was a time in Grade 4 or 5 when my handwriting was pretty perfect – when I wasn’t rushing to scrawl out a sentence. Now days we write so infrequently that the art of handwriting is largely lost. Pick up a nice fine-tipped ball point pen, and write as though you were sending a love letter early last century or penning a heartfelt thank-you note to your late Nanna. Even if it is just a shopping list, the practice of writing can bring us to the present.
I’m no time management expert, and I’m not really seeking efficiency as much as presence.
But I suspect when we find presence, that effectiveness will be our reward.
How do you manage your time to be ‘present’ and fully focused? How many windows do you usually have open at any one time?
Linking up for FYBF thanks to With Some Grace.