Have you ever noticed how often multi-tasking ends up taking longer than doing each thing separately does? Or maybe not always longer, but you are definitely not doing as good of a job? For example, I often try to do something else while I brush my teeth. Brush my hair, put on socks, read, etc. After
My goal is simple (not). Learn to focus. Fully embrace whatever it is I am doing. Whether that's brushing my teeth, playing with my kids, slinging some code, or writing this blog post. You just can't be fully immersed in more than one thing at a time. You think you can. I fall trap to it constantly. Convincing myself that I can do multiple things at once and do a good job.
Another one I do all too often is eat and work. I eat lunch at my desk every work day, and oftentimes breakfast as well. I get actual work done too, so I justify it. But my meal suffers. I end up taking forever to finish eating and then my food is cold. That's just silly. I have to adjust my life to make time for important things, like eating. Maybe it's part of my eating disorder recovery that I never gave enough thought too. Allowing food to be important enough to dedicate time to eating. And staying off my phone, email, social media, etc. But I could, and probably will, write a whole post just on that topic.
When I'm most on my game, with anything, work, husband, kids, anything in life, it's because I'm concentrating. I'm in it. Whatever it is at the moment, I am fully present. That's where happiness happens. Not when I'm reading an article on my phone while Sebastian is begging me to play Battleship or Yahtzee for the billionth time or Oscar is asking for help finding each and every tiny Thomas train in his set, the TV is blabbing in the background, and Brian is telling me the funny story of the kid's day. No one can concentrate on all those things at once! Shut off the TV, put away the phone, and be with your family! I know I'm not the only guilty one, but it's still more than a little embarrassing to admit this scenario is not an uncommon occurrence at our house.
But at least progress is being made. I realize the distracted multi-tasking is occurring much sooner these days and am quick to turn off the screens. I'm revamping my evening and morning routines to try and give myself time to take a real break at mealtimes. One day recently I actually woke up early enough to sit down and eat breakfast with Sebastian. I even put my phone away when I realized what a momentous occasion it was. I could relax and listen to my child who more than anything wants to talk, and not be rushing around trying to get my ass out the door and sneak into work right before 9. It was glorious. And I made it to work before 8:30. Miracles do happen! Actually nothing miraculous about it. It's all hard work to fight that voice that tells me "just a few more minutes" when my alarm goes off. A fight I lose most mornings (like today).
I have to give a big shout out to Habit Bliss who's 21 day morning routine I finished reading a few weeks ago. She did a great job of breaking down the reasons to have a good morning routine, ideas on how to accomplish change, and what things were worth changing. A lot of information I'm sure many of us could be reminded of. My favorite part was that we don't have to make drastic changes overnight, but can achieve lasting results with gradual changes instead. Something often forgotten, especially around this time of year when everyone is struggling with their New Year's resolutions or goals. I've attempted to have a better morning routine often in the past, but I eventually slip back into old habits. Usually it's because I'm trying to add too many things to my morning. This time instead, I am simply concentrating on eating breakfast at home and getting to work on-time without having to rush around. Once I make these things a habit, then I'll try adding more things to my morning.
What does a morning routine have to do with multi-tasking? Maybe nothing for you if you live in a bubble of a perfectly scheduled day. But for the rest of you who feel distracted and rushed like myself, you know what I'm talking about. I don't want to feel so stretched for time, over-scheduled, and constantly busy. I want to be present and active in my own life, and not like life is passing me by. I want to be focused.
So I encourage you to struggle along with me in the path to mindfulness. Any moment I achieve it, no matter how brief, feels so wonderful. Like I am truly "living in the moment".