In this frenetic world where we are expected to read all kinds of books, magazines, newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and online news in addition to taking in TV and radio newscasts and shows, I think it’s ok to admit that I can get overwhelmed.
Add to it, all this rapid-fire news from the election, and the pace is even more intense. Try as I might, I cannot get my arms and mind around everything.
But a blast of fresh air recently blew a bit of reason over my desk. In Mindful magazine, Janice Marturano, executive director of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, talks about “Purposeful Pauses,” a potent reminder that you can actually still your mind, slow your thinking, and actively be present in whatever task is before you – one thing at a time. And, she says, those who do are more productive. I really like that.
The idea is that we consciously keep our minds focused on the email that we are reading right now, for example, without letting our mind stray to the next email, the incoming news alert, or errands we need to run after work. All of this is very difficult in the fast-paced, distracting environment in which we now live with media and that pervasive FOMA– Fear of Missing Out – mentality.
But, instead of panic, I am practicing to actively listen to the person talking to me without interrupting or quietly devising my response. When I try to do two or three things at once, I catch myself and do one task at a time. How crazy is it that we have to re-coach ourselves into thinking this way, but I do think it’s a function of today’s social media-driven, smart phone-immediacy method of communicating. I also have two teen daughters, and I regretfully see this line of thinking shaping their on-demand, right-now, can’t-wait-for-it perspectives.
For now, I am going to take Janice’s advice and slow it all down to a manageable pace. I will strive to try to find the calm within the crazy. One moment at a time.