Photo Credit: Renee Rendler-Kaplan
To be honest with you, this has been one of my biggest struggles. I had an epiphany about a year and a half ago and it was the realization that I don’t really listen to people or focus on any one task well. The noise inside my head drowns out what others are saying to me. Then I noticed that same noise prevented me from focusing on other tasks. I was following my own chaotic mind from one thing to the next without giving any thought to why. Then I thought to myself, how long has this been going on? What have I been missing as a result? Do others know that I’m checked out?
The reality is that this type of mental distraction is, in my opinion, is common to most people. However, just because it’s common does not mean it’s a good thing. I never really figured out why I had become so distracted, but it’s really irrelevant. If I am going to excel at the areas of my life, that are most important to me, I need to be present in the moment.
For example, if my relationship with my wife and kids are important to me what does it say to them if I am checked out and not paying full attention to them when they talking with me? I want to show them I care, but my actions say something different. Right? So…being mindful to the fact you are not paying attention is the first step. The next step is doing something about it. Here are 3 practical things you can begin to do in order to become more present in the moment. Master these things and you will begin to see amazing things happen in your productivity and relationships:
1.) Index Cards: Write down on an index card 3 words that represent how you want to show up in your relationships. By doing this, you will become more mindful in the moment. For example, my words/phrases are:
· Engaged/Fully Present
Carry around this card to remind yourself of how you want to show up in your conversations with others.
2.) Deep breathing: Many times we become so worked up in our minds we just need to slow things down a bit. Learning some deep belly breathing techniques can help you get your mind present and in the moment which will help you to focus on the task or person at hand.
3.) Prayer and/or positive self-talk: As a Christian I find it helpful to take a moment to pray and ask God to give me peace or strength in the moment. I will also practice repeating phrases like “I can focus” or “keep focused because this person is important to me”.
As you go forward into this Valentine’s Day weekend…remember…one of the best gifts you can give the people you love is your undivided attention.