I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but this year, my stress levels demanded that I make some changes. As you well know, I’m the kind of person who does 10 things at once, has way more to do than I can ever possibly get done and balances being 10 different things to 100s of people. Wife, mom, boss, friend, sister – you know the drill. I’ll wager you’re doing it, too.
I decided that things had to change. My resolution? Simple. To spend one year being more “present” in my life. I hate that “woo woo” sort of phrasing, but it’s true, I needed to focus on being focused. I needed to stop worrying about the next five minutes, five hours or five years and instead be in this minute. Right now. This is not easy for me.
Here are a few things I’ve been working on to be more present:
1) Stop multi-tasking
One of the worst things we women do is fool ourselves into thinking that doing several things at once makes us effective. It doesn’t.
In fact, multi-tasking doesn’t make you smart, it makes you stupid. Worse, it makes you inattentive and unfocused. I’ve been concentrating on doing one thing at a time and I’ve found that my work is better, my writing clearer, my relationships stronger as I truly listen to people when they talk to me.
2) Stop worrying constantly and, instead, put those thoughts into a drawer – literally
There’s no question that my single biggest weakness is how much I worry. I make myself physically ill with worry and I’ve done this since I was a little girl. It’s the way I’m wired. I’ve tried many, many strategies to deal with the constant barrage of spinning thoughts and the most effective one involves a jar and a drawer.
I bought a pretty blue Mason Jar from a seller on Etsy and keep a tiny note pad and pen next to it in a drawer. Every time some train of worrying thoughts threatens to distract and derail me, I first make sure I’ve taken any action I can take toward ridding myself of the worry.
Once that’s done, I write down what I’m worrying about and put that slip of paper in the jar. The act of closing the lid on it and putting the jar in the drawer and closing the drawer helps me get distance from those thoughts.
3) Stop thinking that my level of “busy” equals my level of value
I’ve noticed that, the busier I am, the more confident I feel about my value. Now, THIS is a slippery slope. If I have to be super busy to feel like I’m valuable, how can I grow as a person? I’ll spin myself into a lather and then won’t be useful to anyone.
Instead, I’m trying to focus on the three roles that mean the very most to me in my life (for me, that’s wife, mom, boss) and for each, have come up with three specific actions I can take daily to bring value to those roles. That way, I can truly be valuable, rather than filling my plate to the point of overflow and not really getting anything accomplished.
By keeping myself from multi-tasking, worrying needlessly and being busy for busy’s sake, I keep myself more present in each moment. Since beginning this concentration, I’ve felt I’m participating more in my life, rather than just having it pass by in a blur.
I was thrilled to share this article with the readers of Overcoming Busy, one of my favorite websites.
A Penelope Classic post shared with you as we gear up for our new site unveiling, happening in September!