Remember when I talked about my goals for this year? I have been thinking a lot about them and realized that while having something to work towards physically is great (update: my HSPUs have been coming along!) I failed to reflect on the ways I might be able to strengthen my emotional well-being.
So, today I want to talk about being present.
I’m sure we all can relate – we rush through our day, juggling as much as we can, only to come home and do it all over. Sometimes I feel like I am just going through the motions. Add a job and children to that equation and you can see how urgent the day-to-day becomes.
Anyone who has spent a little time with me knows I love being organized. Checking things off my to-do list gives me so much pleasure. I have checklists everywhere…on my phone, calendar, in my notebook, scribbled on post-its. Yes, this does make me productive and accomplished at the end of the day, but I’ve let this restlessness affect my personal life at times.
We all get distracted. There are multiple projects, deadlines, and responsibilities that we are trying to complete. There are times when I try to do everything at once (type that email while making a call and thinking about what you need to pick up at the store) and it ends up in broken thoughts and inefficiency. More importantly, I can sometimes be distracted with my kids. I find myself checking my phone, looking at emails, and texting when I am with them and that needs to change. I think there is an expectation that we should be reachable at all times, but it really shouldn’t be like this.
At times my girls will ask me to sit with them and watch a show. Why is it so hard to do this? It’s ironic because I fantasize about this very thing and yet I can’t do it when the opportunity presents itself. I will often answer, “Okay, Mommy just has to unload the dishwasher.” Or, “Give me one minute.” I’ll sit down only to feel guilty that I’m not picking up or getting the laundry done.
I recently listened to a Ted Talk that describes the connection between happiness and living in the moment. Turns out no matter what we are doing we would be much happier if we focused on the present moment rather than trying to tackle multiple things or let our thoughts jump around.
So, here are some things I am going to try to do to be a bit more present:
1. Do not check email first thing in the morning or right before bed.
Oftentimes, I will scroll through my phone before getting up in the morning and that puts me in a reactive state. Instead, I am going to do something creative, like writing, before getting to my email. The same rule applies to the evening. I once had a colleague send me an offensive email and I read it before bed only to lie awake thinking about it all.night.long.
2. Turn off email when working on a project.
Stay on task with minimal interruptions. I stole this idea from Tim Ferris Four Hour Work Week. One of the best reads ever!
3. Technology free from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.
No phone or email during this window until the girls go to bed. This also includes resisting the urge to multitask when I am with them. I don’t need to sweep the floor or pick up the room during that time. It can wait. Snuggles are much more important than a clean house.
Have you done anything to find more balance if your life? Any tips on what has worked for you?