Most people wear this badge of busyness with pride – although perhaps lately not so much…. How can it possibly be a good thing to be rushing from one thing to the next – from meeting to project to emails to home and as a constant buzzy backdrop our love of email, social media and WhatsApp? On the days that I travel into London early for work (and I’m lucky – that’s at most twice or three times a month) everyone generally is already working feverishly writing or checking their email – this is at 6.45 am. The saddest thing for me is that they are probably doing this every single day. We think we have no time but I believe it’s more that we don’t use the time that we have so very inefficiently.
Time isn’t actually the problem – it’s far more about the tension between work and life. Ideally, the two should be balanced but in reality they blend and blend into each other and the more we blend the more exhausted we end up feeling. We are giving of our best to none because we are not able to be fully present with either.
We allow interruptions all day long – thinking we are being super-efficient zipping from emails to work to social media, ticking everything off our list. Constant interruptions and never sticking to one task long enough to make it effective mean that it can take up to 20 minutes to regain any momentum. We allow them because most of us are checking our smartphone anywhere up to 30 or more times a day. Our biggest problem right now? Lack of focus.
“Why are you thinking about tomorrow’s meeting whilst having dinner?” “Why are you checking emails or social media on a Sunday during a family outing or after school at the playground?” – both of these I have done in the past and these are the kinds of questions we need to get more into the habit of asking ourselves. How can anything possibly be that important? The answer is that it isn’t – we’ve just got into really bad habits.
The way to address this is by doing the very opposite of course…
Yes, do the very opposite of what you see around you or what technology or even your brain tells you to do!
Compartmentalise – when you’re working, work and when you’re with your loved ones, really be with them. When you are on your commute, use that time to set intentions for the day, practise mindfulness and get ready. On the way home create a pathway between work and home to allow you to adjust and be present when you walk in the door.
And maybe, just maybe – switch of your phone sometimes or just put it somewhere else in the evenings…..