Am I the only one freaking out that this year is going by too fast? I haven’t finished the second draft of my script, haven’t answered way too many emails, and didn’t finish that book. In fact, I still have a crap load of “to dos” carried over from, well if we’re going to be honest, years ago. That’s just embarrassing, horrifying to a Virgo, and frustrating and overwhelming and I’m on the verge of a mental crisis if I don’t . . . just . . . breathe.
I saw a meme recently that said, “You have the same amount of time as Beyonce.”
Really? Pretty sure she found some secret portal full of minutes somewhere that I don’t know about. How else does she get all that done when I can’t even find time to deep condition my hair? Okay, hired help is bought time, but still …
This is the year that I find more hours in my day. This is the year that I learn how to slow it all down and mine the moments for productivity and meaning.
But, how can we find more hours in a day?
How can we stretch out the moments and get the most meaning out of each one?
By being present, that’s how. When we’re dropped and anchored into our minds and bodies, we can take care of business. When we’re distracted with noise coming from outside of ourselves, it’s much more difficult to achieve what we want. Worry, anger, fear – all those draining emotions – hijack our days way too often.
So, the question is, how do we stay present?
After some extensive reading and practicing, I’ve cobbled together some techniques that I find effective. It does take practice, just like anything dealing with mastering your conscious mind, but once you identify what works for you, I think you’ll find that it’s actually simple. I carry this list around in my pocket as a reminder. So far, so good.
Put 100 yards between you and any “connected” device. Abandon anything that uses a usb portal. I know, scary, right? If the idea freaks you out, start small. Set your alarm for an hour so you don’t have to keep wondering how long you’ve been without checking your screen. Scrolling Facebook, checking emails, even taking pictures of whatever beautiful is hopefully in front of you, is keeping you from being present. If you’re feeling worried or anxious, surfing the net is going to make it worse, pretty much guaranteed.
Take a few slow deep breaths. When we get too busy, worried or frantic, our breath becomes shallow. This activates your “fight or flight” response and signals to your brain that something’s wrong. Slow it down. Assure your brain that you’re okay, no grizzlies in sight.
Focus on the sounds around you. Close your eyes and identify them. Being in the moment doesn’t always mean going introspective, give your insides a rest and tune into what’s outside of you. Try this: focus on the sounds closest to you. Then, try to hear beyond them. Identify the noise that is the furthest away.
4. Get tactile
Touch an object – anything – your shirt, a glass, the knob on your desk drawer. Notice how it feels on your skin.
5. Forget the multi-tasking
Get to doing what you want to be doing and focus. I went to see Dr. Wayne Dyer years ago and the one thing he said that I never forgot was, “if you’re washing the dishes, really wash the dishes.” Meaning notice the soap, the sponge, the water, etc… Whatever you’re doing, give all of your attention to it. Multi-tasking sucks. Being a task master is where it’s at now.
The point of these exercises is to get you out of what you’re thinking and therefore feeling. You can’t have both observant and worried thoughts at the same time. So, by changing the channel on your thoughts, so to speak, you’ll give yourself a chance for some peace, which will allow you to put your full attention onto what you want to be doing. And the longer you do that, the further away from your worries you’ll get, and the more productive moments you will have.
Next on my list to master – this dance routine. I got time, you?
How do you anchor yourself in your moments? I’d love to hear.