Have you ever done something you regretted because you were not paying close attention , multitasking, or just plain rushing? We all have. But lately I have been finding it to be the story of my life, and I realize that it will never change unless I do.
I often jokingly tell people that I only have two settings, off or high. I was built for efficiency and strive on being busy. If things aren’t busy I basically turn off. I have never been one of those thoughtful people, who pay close attention to detail and take their time to do things. While there are definitely advantages to working quickly, being efficient, and getting it all done, there is also a price to be paid for not being mindful, and lately I am going broke!
In my professional life I have written articles on the dangers of multitasking and the hazards of distracted driving, meanwhile here I am trying to check my phone, drink my coffee, work on my blog, answer emails, thinking about the event I am working at tonight, and remembering how I barely remember my drive home yesterday because of all the things I was thinking about, coupled with hunger and exhaustion, and that was without the three biggest distractions of all sitting in the backseat (who ever said driving and talking on a cell phone is dangerous should try driving with three little ones in the back yelling, screaming, crying, and doing whatever else they do back there). If you felt tired reading that sentence then you get what my life is like.
I need to slow down.
When you are rushing around all sorts of bad things happen. Recently, I left the brand new sweater my brother got me for Christmas in a store because I was trying to get in and out quickly to get home to the kids, I have said some things I shouldn’t have because I was hopped up on adrenaline from working at a furious pace and forgot to think before I spoke, and last night I let my son stay up way past his bedtime (watching semi inappropriate television) because I was so busy trying to clean up the house and get everything ready for my long shift/event today at work.
I can tell you for a fact that being mindful and living in the present moment improves your quality of life, it makes you happier and you make fewer mistakes. BUT. It never takes long before I get into the “zone” and I am running around (needlessly) like a maniac. You know you have a problem when you tell people you are pregnant with twins and they say “if anyone could have found a way to make parenting more efficient it would be you”. And I heard this from SEVERAL people!
So what are us busy moms to do? Here are a few tips/ things I am going to try to help stay focussed and find that “medium” setting on my dial.
1. Breathe. When you feel things starting to become a blur, stop and take a deep breath. Feel the air pass in and out, the ground beneath your feet and centre yourself in the moment.
2. Prioritize. Be willing to let go of the things that aren’t important. You can’t do it all, so it is better to do the important things well, than everything half-assed.
3. Set appropriate time limits and stick to them. If you can’t do a job in the time allotted don’t try to squeeze it in by doing it rushed, revisit your schedule. Either break up the job or move things around to ensure you have adequate time to complete your tasks.
4. Weigh the consequences. I think half the time I go fast for the sake of going fast! Last time I was running late at the grocery store and starting to really rush I stopped myself and asked, “what is the worst thing that could happen because you are late?” really not much, my parents are mad, my husband loses five minutes off his shower. But what is the worst thing that could happen from rushing? Loose my purse or my keys, get into a car accident, die, hurt someone else, forget half the stuff I was supposed to, necessitating a second trip???
5. Make it count. You only live once. Even the little things are “life” so do you want to enjoy and remember your life or look back at a blur of stressful memories? I know which one I’d want.
I’ll write an update in a few weeks and see if I have noticed a difference.
In the meantime I encourage you to share your experiences and tips of how to avoid the urge to be a superwoman (or superman) who does it all, and slow down. Or, do you think it’s better to live life on fast forward and why?