Being impatient comes naturally to me. For the simplest tasks, like cooking so I can eat, getting out of traffic just to be at the office, or waiting for my food at a restaurant, I want to speed through them. But what I am finding is I am missing out on all of the good stuff. What I am discovering is that I actually enjoy cooking and learning new recipes for my family to try. I don’t mind sitting in traffic listening to my favorite songs or chatting with my husband before I have to be around the rest of the world. It’s just me in my car. Solitude. As for the restaurant, I still want my food out as fast as possible (that’s a work in progress). I understand that this was hinting for a change. Yes, a change to live in the present, to feel and enjoy one work at a time
Agitation would be my mood for the better part of the day. When I realized this energy was transferring to my girls, I knew I had to make a change.
Not knowing where to start to make a change, I went with the obvious choice, the opposite of me: patient. I read about it, spoke to people I consider to be patient, prayed about it, and practiced it. While all these things helped, I was searching for ways to find more joy and contentment in the now, since I know patience is a lifelong journey. I am okay with this. I now only aspire to be better today than I was yesterday. That’s it. And I do this by having a clear vision of my life. I can see where I want to go and who I want to become. So I do things daily to ensure that I am a better wife, mother, and human.
The best way I have found to measure this and hold myself accountable is to be present in each moment. Being fully present in each moment, instead of thinking of the next move, is how I become aware of my feelings, surroundings, other people, and my actions. I think only of what I am doing and how it makes me feel, act, and respond.
I am not living hour to hour, day to day, wondering what is going to happen next. I still have a plan and agenda for my life that I am not willing to sacrifice. Instead, this way of living is helping me focus and give my 110% on any given task, whether that is blowing bubbles in the backyard or writing this post. Here are a few tips I am following in order to maintain this new lifestyle.
“We are the generation capable of doing many things at once, without enjoying any of them..”
― Dinesh Kumar Biran
“I love multitasking . . I am so good at it . . I get so many things accomplished in such a short time frame.”
I am sure we can all agree this is the mindset behind multitasking. When I heard this all was a myth, I was super surprised. I am the girl that eats a whole meal that requires a spoon, fork, and knife between stop lights on my way to the next appointment, all the while talking on the phone.
What I am learning is I am actually shortchanging myself with all of these actions. Thinking that I was giving 100% to each task I was doing simultaneously was foolish. I was actually dividing my focus a percentage based on how many tasks I was taking on at once. For example, let’s say I was cooking a simple meal, washing clothes, and catching up on the girls’ day all at the same time. Well, I am only giving 33% of my effort to each of these things, because for me, all of this requires concentration.
When I thought about it this way, I did not want to give my children only 33% of my focus. They need 100%, depending on the topic. Of course, It’s not that I can’t talk to them while I cook or clean, but if I feel like our conversation is becoming more serious, now I stop what I am doing, look them in the eye and let them know they have my full attention. If I am in the middle of something and cannot stop, then we revisit the conversation at a later time.
Another thing about multitasking is that I would accomplish things, but in a blur. I would be going through the motions just to get something done, without really even thinking about it. I find when I focus on one thing at a time and think only of what I am doing, I have much better outcomes, and I don’t feel like a mindless robot just doing tasks for the sake of it.
Focusing on one thing
“The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time.” – Mozark
Doing one thing at a time, at first, seemed time consuming. I did not like it. It was almost unnatural. But then I tried it and now I love it.
Being present is all about thinking about what you are doing in the present moment. If I am doing things I don’t enjoy, like listening to people complain, I think about why I don’t like it. If I can turn it into a positive, like maybe they just need to be heard by someone, or minimize these encounters, they’re not as bad. If I am doing something I enjoy (which is how I like all my days to be, of course), I totally immerse myself in the experience. In the past, I used to look back on good memories and smile and laugh about them, because at the time I did not know they would be good memories. Now this is how I look at life: as the potential to be a good memory one day. A story worth sharing.
When I hone in on one thing at a time, I am able to understand my feelings, which helps me to understand why I respond the way I do, or laugh as loud as I do. I can say I am frustrated and know when it is time to take a break instead of blowing up on the next person who asks me to do another thing. I am more aware and less distracted.
Feeling my feelings
As a culture, we are told to only have positive emotions. Not to be angry or cry. While I think emotional intelligence is very important, we as humans have a lot of feelings that may not all be so pretty. Often being told that I overact to situations that others don’t think are cause for much commotion, I learned to quiet myself and thoughts. I think it is important to know what you are feeling, understand why, and address them with yourself as often as possible.
We still have the same feelings we did 15 years ago; the only difference is how we choose to handle them as we mature. I am learning to show self-compassion when I do not always present “good” emotions. All emotions are necessary to be fully human. We should embrace them.
Planning and being still
I have been told I have a type A personality. While this was nice to know, I didn’t let it define me, but it helps me understand why I am the way I am. I set systems in place to ensure I get everything done that I desire. I don’t follow a schedule to the T. I have an idea of how I want my day to go and I do it. If something happens to come up, then I work it into my day if it is important enough. This helps me be present in each moment and focus on one thing at a time. I am not consistently thinking about what I am doing next or how I will get something accomplished. If it is important enough, I will get it done. I am done rushing around trying to accomplish all things in a day. It is nice riding in the car only focusing on driving, and not eating, or having an intense conversation that can cause distractions.
By being present and conscious of my existence, I notice new things around me each day. Things that may have been there for years but I was too busy to notice. Being present helps me be still and aware. What do you do to help be present and regain your focus? Share your tips and tricks down below!