“You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.”— Gary Keller
Ahh yes, the topic of multi-tasking. This isn’t an easy topic to broach, particularly not for someone like me. For many, many years I was a chronic multi-tasker. I swear I would almost get a buzz off the feeling that I was balancing all the things.
Now let me explain a little something about myself. I have ideas, lots and lots of ideas. Not only do I have ideas, but I actually like to act on my ideas. I like to get things DONE. In addition to this, I have many interests and am very curious about each of them. I like to learn, I have slowly learned to love to read, and I consume more podcasts than the average bear. These only results in filling my mind up with more ideas. I manage two companies, as well as provide consulting services as requested. On top of that, I am fortunate enough to have two daughters that are approaching their teens at the speed of light. I am married to an incredibly supportive and fun-loving husband, (we celebrate one year of marriage this month), and a tribe of family and friends that mean the absolute world to me.
So, the question has must be asked, how do you maintain a full life like this while being present? I think first we need to identify what it means to be “present”. For me being present means that my mind and my body are both showing up together. If I am having lunch with a friend, I want both my mind and body there. If I am on a conference call with clients, I want my mind and body there. If I am helping my kids with their homework, I want both my mind and body there. The thing is, this a classic theme of ” easier said than done”. There are so many distractions that pull our attention away from the task or moment at hand. It is super challenging to commit to being where you are. Here are a few tricks I have developed over the years that help me stay both present and productive.
- Time Block: I assign tasks, meetings, and sometimes moments to an hour of the day. This keeps me from biting off more than I can chew.
- Give yourself some margin in between these tasks.
- Turn off your phone notifications
- When you feel yourself getting pulled in a different direction repeat this to yourself. ” my purpose in this moment is …”
When you are helping your children with homework and someone calls, or you feel yourself getting pulled in another direction, say to yourself ” my purpose in this moment is to help Maryn with her homework.” When you state it clearly and out loud, you realize that at that moment you have only one job to do. Every day is a work in progress, so cut yourself some slack. It is difficult to be present with the high demands of this day and age, but it isn’t impossible. Take control of your days and try practicing being present and productive over multi-tasking. I think you will surprise yourself at what a difference it can make! – Megan