(This is a lengthy one, but well worth the read)
Every morning, I wake up and strap my year old baby into my baby Bjorn and take her, the dog, and myself for a 30 minute walk. This is where the baby gets to be outside in nature, which she loves, the dog gets to chase her ball and exercise a bit, and I am able to revel in some peace and tranquility, listening to the birds and cherishing the quality time with my baby… that is, until my to-do list starts swarming through my head, and visions of task completion take over.
In reality, more often than not, I start my walk looking at the birds, smiling at and genuinely appreciating their colors and beautiful songs. About 5 minutes later, I get "inadvertently" distracted by my phone. It’s my phone’s fault; I swear it calls to me. It convinces me, quite harmlessly, that I should probably check my email, just in case. Harmless! But then I glance at my notifications and spot 3 new blaring red dots! Have to check those too. And then that leads to, of course, seeing friends and family who I need to call for whatever reason. And the list goes on! Again, it seems perfectly harmless, but let me be completely candid by sharing one particular instance where my multi-taskedness almost led to destruction.
One morning, I was 10 minutes into my walk, doing the usual: holding the baby, throwing the dog’s ball and playing catch up on my cell phone correspondence "as a means of being efficient." Well, this particular day, I was texting a buddy while holding the dog’s leash and picking up a ball the baby had dropped when, quick as lightning, the dog took off after an unsuspecting squirrel at the exact same time a car flew by, missing Ebby (dog) narrowly. My initial response? Reprimand the dog, of course. But really, Jess? Is this about the dog?
Can you relate?
I had to stop and really take a look at myself and my behavior. I realized at that moment that the minute something runs off my "internal expectation course," I freak out. And it is rarely my fault! At least I try to tell myself that.
So, instead of getting frustrated with the dog or the baby or my cell phone that does this to me in the first place, I made a list of the things and beings that were and are affected by my multi-tasking:
1. The baby – I am on my phone when she wants my attention. She often tries to take my phone away and eat it. Subtle hint.
What it says to her? My phone is more important.
2. The dog – Because I am on my phone, I am not paying attention to the fact that she is off her leash and perfectly capable of darting, as well-trained as she is. Then I yell at her to "Come! Quit acting like a dog!"
What it says to her? She is a bad dog.
3. The driver who almost hit my dog – Because I am texting, picking up a ball, holding a baby, I am completely distracted, and this person almost had an accident.
What it says to them? I’m careless, and they almost had a heart attack as a result, I’m sure.
4. The person I’m texting – Even if it’s text, I’m still distracted. I’m not giving them my full attention.
What it says to them? I don’t really know. But I’m not being true to my own valuable time.
And therein lies the issue: I’m not being true to my own valuable time. I’m not giving myself ample time and space to breathe. What’s ironic is I teach this stuff! I guess nobody’s perfect. Darn it!
So here is my challenge to myself for the next week and then some:
1. When I am with the baby, I will not use my phone unless she is otherwise completely distracted.2. When I am walking in nature, I will not use my phone and INSTEAD will truly connect with nature and my spirit.3. I will check my phone 3 times per day: one in the morning, one in the afternoon when the baby is sleeping, and one in the evening.4. I will not worry about responding immediately. That is a people-pleasing thing in which I choose NOT to participate.5. I will write lists of things to do and allot time to get them done, knowing that they will be done in time. It’s OK.6. I will put my phone on silent when I am not using it, so I am not tempted to pick it up.
If you can relate, and I’m sure most of us can because we do live in a society where multi-tasking is the norm, almost necessary, try to make your own list. Give your friends and family a heads up. Start really looking at how much your blood pressure, energy level, most intimate relationships (including the one with your SELF), and life in general can tolerate. Set self boundaries. Do one thing at a time.
I wish you all the best of luck!! I’m going to go turn my phone off now. wink emoticon
Love and hugs and self-patience,Jessyourspiritualpathfinder.com