Get off the "To-Do" Hamster Wheel
Raise your hand if you have random ‘to-do’ lists in various
desk drawers dated from the past and half the items are not even crossed off. Raise your hand if you thought that lovely spiral notebook was just the thing to write down all your tasks and it now gathers dust on a shelf. Or, did you read a great book that had a system proven to help you be more productive? Except when you tried it, it didn’t take into consideration that your “sacred morning time for planning the day” would be interrupted by kids waking up hungry and ready for breakfast?
If you’ve ‘been there, done that,’ take a deep breath. And take another deep breath. There will never be a moment in time when everything you must do is done and there’s nothing left to do. Not at home. Not at work. Not ever. (Unless you are dead, but let’s not go there.) Let this sink in…there will never be a time when you truly have absolutely nothing to do. Right?? There will always be something that could be done like cleaning out the fridge or reorganizing your email folders.
We put too much pressure on ourselves to get it all done. We invest time, energy and money into becoming our most efficient, productive selves. (You should see the lovely notebooks on my shelf.)
Instead of figuring out how to do more, let's figure out how to be more. Be more present in what we do. Be more present with the people with whom we come into contact.
When I am fully present in a meeting, I am connected to others in a way that brings meaning to the situation. When I am truly present while doing a task, it feels more worthwhile, whether that task is writing a blog post or doing the dishes (okay, maybe the dishes are just the dishes).
What does it mean to be more? Be more present, attentive, engaged, aware? How do we do that? How I do it is to take a deep breath before starting something – a task, a conversation, etc. And then with the next deep breath I set an intention in my mind to be _________________(fill in the blank). For example, I say to myself: I am going to be fully present on this project for the next hour. And to be sure that
happens, I off my notifications, or mute them and put my phone in the desk. That way I can be present and focused on what’s in front of me.
I take a deep breath when the phone rings and say to myself: I am going to listen closely to this person, so they feel that I am very present and engaged in this conversation. I am satisfied to no end when I look back on the day and feel that everything I did was with intention and focused attention. I may have over 1,000 emails in my inbox, but I prefer that when it is because I spent those extra minutes in focused conversation with another person.
Being more over doing more is a practice. I still get distracted. But I find my way back to intentional presence and focused attention a little more quickly.
If you want help figuring how to put this idea into practice for yourself, contact me.