It's already the second week in January and I'm thinking back to how I've been doing on my goal for this year: to live life more purposefully. I'd say that's pretty good, considering in years past, I would have lost my list of resolutions or forgotten them by now.
There are two behaviors that are often stumbling blocks to being more focused and deliberate about my tasks. In the past these are things that helped me cope with a full and busy life, but now I'm finding that they can get in the way of enjoying and appreciating my life.
The first is the ability to handle distractions. When I was a young mom, I remember someone telling me that one of the hardest things about parenting young kids is that, while many jobs require you to be able to switch gears at a moment's notice, with kids the distractions are often so jarring. You're doing a task and a baby starts wailing. Kids start fighting. Or demands are immediate. A baby throws up, a diaper needs changing now. You always have to be on your toes. So, we're conditioned to distractions occurring and handling them becomes second nature. It's not even natural to begin and complete a task in one sitting. I wonder if all of this has contributed to my mid-life attention deficit?
The other coping skill that moms learn to master is multi-tasking. Hold the baby, stir the soup, talk on the phone and keep an eye on the preschooler. Make supper while overseeing homework and running a load of laundry.
Even though my kids are older now, I'm still in that mode. I may not be called on for dirty diapers or feedings, but suddenly someone needs a ride somewhere or help with a math problem or there's a wardrobe crisis. I've learned to drop what I'm doing, switch gears and tackle whatever has become the new priority.
And, after years of this, I find myself and my friends saying the same thing. We're on the run, we always doing, the time is going by, and at the end of the day, what have we accomplished? I know I've done a lot, but where's the fulfillment? Multi-tasking and fighting distractions are hardly conducive to leading a purposeful life.
So, here are a couple of areas I've been working on. One is finding routines that work. And not procrastinate them! Oh, I'm so good at putting things off. And the second area is to take advantage of the time I have alone, so that when the kids are home and I'm on duty, so to speak, I'm more available and not multi-tasking.
Nothing earth shattering here, but just a few thoughts to help me on my journey this year.