Friday, June 27, 2008

Developing Focus and Structure

Do you suffer as I do from that feeling of wasting a day or a specific block of time? I find myself with a free day ahead of me and my planning mind immediately decides all the things I'm going to do. Unfortunately, my basic nature of wanting to do everything means I can potentially spend the day flitting from this thing to that thing and never feel I accomplished much of anything. This activity is much like my other activity of being online and bouncing from one website to another reading interesting information, but wasting gobs of time. Today I am on a path of being Mindful, and I'm saying that with a capital letter!

I am sharing with you here my steps I followed to remain focused on my goals>

1. Decide you are going to spend a day or an afternoon mindfully selecting your activities. I made this decision this morning when I realized how many "free" days (meaning no appointments) I squander on the Internet and essentially being distracted. I decided I needed to really listen within, and not react to every 'bright shiny object'.

2. Sit someplace quiet, close your eyes and placing your hand on your heart ask -- what do I really really want to do next? I actually did this after making my list of things I wanted and needed to do today. I mindfully asked myself this question and listened to what came up. I had "clean off desk top" "do yoga" "be creative and write in your blog". I felt I was at choice and in charge of my day rather than at it's mercy.

3. Once you have written the items down, decide how long you will do each one. I used a timer because it really helps me stay focused to hear that tick, tick tick! Giving myself 15 minutes to clean off my desk meant I was decisive and deliberate and not likely to get side-tracked checking email. Instead of an endless amount of time, I had a deadline. I guess I work well with a deadline!

4. Be good to yourself and allow for spontaneity. In my initial listing of items, I included "fun" and "free time". After I had finished a few tasks, a friend called to invite me to go see a movie. Well there was fun and free time all in one! Of course I went and had a great time.

5. Congratulate yourself on what you did accomplish. I checked off and crossed off each item which made me feel accomplished. At the end of the day of course there were more items, but they will carry over or they just were'nt that important. I know I was being truthful to my needs and I felt good about my day.

What I realized today is how easily I can be distracted! And I'm starting to appreciate how much of this behavior is my avoidance of things I feel afraid to do. Now I don't mean some huge scary fear, but that deep-seated fear that I'm not really good enough; I'm not worthy of the good that could come to me by doing these things. What if I had to really burst through my barriers and just get out there and SHINE!! How would that be? A little scary? Yes, I think sometimes it is to me. So I don't get started when I really want to, or I water the plants, have a snack, email a friend. OK things to do, but I'm allowing myself distraction rather than the joy that comes from completion by way of focus and awareness.

Overall, I felt on task. Then when life happened I was also able to go with the flow. mantra right now, to be in the flow.

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