It seems that we have all trained ourselves to not waste a single moment. We fill in every tiny gap of time attempting to be as productive as possible. To the ridiculous point where we find ourselves standing in front of the microwave shouting “hurry up”.
I have been participating in a “White Space” challenge run by Kelly Exeter. (Kelly has been posting an inspiring post series of 40 reflections in the 40 days leading up to her 40th Birthday).
It takes a couple of minutes for my kettle to boil and in that time I can hang out an entire load of washing. In the time it takes for my sink to fill with water I can also fill the washing machine and set it to wash. Breakfast making is streamlined into a ballet of productivity as I dance between the toaster, setting the table, making tea and cooking.
I have also noticed that I lose myself in thinking and planning while doing some of the more mundane things. I can be washing my hair (I like to wash twice and then condition) and find myself wondering whether I did wash twice or just once and now maybe I washed three times to make sure. I drive around the corner and wonder whether I closed the garage door. I stand washing the dishes with an impatient mind thinking about what else I could be doing.
My Mum phoned me the other day at a moment when I was focused on tidying up my kitchen. I had my earphones in and my phone in my pocket and I continued to work as I spoke to her. Phone multi-tasking is something I do often and it never feels good. I sit down for a cup of coffee and find myself automatically scrolling through my phone.
The need for maximum productivity squeezes the life out the moments.
So, I have made a conscious effort this week to be in the moment and feel all the feelings.
I am discovering that there is joy in doing the simple things mindfully. It’s not taking extra time, it’s taking extra mind and really being present. It takes the same amount of time to fold a basket of washing mindfully as it does to fold a basket of washing with impatience while you think about the next task. The difference is the peace you find in the mindfulness.
As a teenager, during my maximum phone usage stage, the telephone was attached to the wall and there was no way of multi tasking. You made your call, you focused on the caller and then you hung up. You may have focused on the caller for a very long time but focus you did. Whenever I speak to someone on the phone and hear them doing something else, I feel uncomfortable, unheard and not valued. I leave the conversation feeling a little tiny bit bad. So, why would I do that too?
Kelly’s White Space challenge has jolted me back into now and I like it. I like the connection with people, I like the joy in the moments and I like the peace mindfulness brings.
I am loving what Lisa Messenger is writing about too. This is a woman who is productive and tapping into mindful abundance.
This is the living part, the precious small moments that we have the chance to savour and enjoy. The fleeting connections that we make with people or the moment missed because our minds were elsewhere.
How about you, are you needing to recalibrate and be more in the moment?
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