By Elizabeth Aylott Pope - Take time to BE YOU contributor.
It’s far too easy to reach the end of a busy day and to barely remember any of it. It swirls into a blur of appointments, mealtimes, childcare, housework, until you’re left wondering whether the day really ever happened. Not a single discrete instant stands out in your mind because it all moved by so fast. It feels like you’re losing the moments of your life – especially those precious few moments of “me-time” - in the tidal wash of days.
If you want your moments back, you can have them. Life moves quickly, but you still can live and remember it. It’s a matter of mindfulness, as so many things are, and a simple trick we like to call “name your moment.”
You will get so much more out of the time you can devote to yourself if you soak it in – sounds, sights, smells and emotions. Whether the moment is a cup of coffee or quiet time while your children nap or play, naming it will help you remember and appreciate it. It’s as simple as saying it, to yourself or out loud: “This is my time to …”
Starting the morning naming your moments can set the tone for the rest of the day. Try it over your cup of tea, or in the shower, or while making breakfast for the family. Take a breath, listen, and say to yourself (or out loud!): “This is my moment to breathe and get a shower.” Feel the water on you, close your eyes for a moment, and be present.
You are probably having these moments already and the pace of life simply causes them to blur into the surrounding haze of chores and tasks. For instance, if you're playing with your children, you have the chance to be present and say out loud "this is my one hour to play with my kids". Then, because you were fully aware that you were in fact playing with them, later on you are able to take a 15-minute break with a cup of tea guilt-free. When you do enjoy that cup of tea, say to yourself the same words “this is my time - these are my 15 minutes to enjoy my drink and have a read.”
By the time the day has ended you'll realise that you have not only accomplished a lot of different things, but, more importantly, you have lived.
Separating out your experiences so the lovely, daily treasures stand out, helps you slow down your internal experience of life, even when the outside pace is moving as quickly as ever. It’s not about checking off the boxes; it’s about being there for the moments of your life, naming and enjoying them.
© 2016 Take time to BE YOU.com
What works best?
By Elizabeth Aylott Pope.
When was the last time you did ONE thing? Can you even remember? Most of us – especially mums – are constantly doing everything simultaneously, simply because there is So. Much. To. Do. We feel that to be productive we have to be answering emails, cooking dinner, talking to the kids and cleaning the house at the same time or it simply won’t all get done.
But current research shows that there are definite costs to multi-tasking. First off, it’s not really multi-tasking. You may feel that you are doing it all at once, but in reality you’re “switch tasking” or “serial tasking.” That means that you are shifting gears between tasks and actually losing time and focus each time you do. You waste energy because you have to remember what you were doing and what you wanted to do next, incurring “switching costs.” The American Psychological Association’s research says this can add up to a task taking 40% longer.
It’s also more stressful. And you never really get in the zone for any activity! Plus, multi-tasking requires a lot of working memory – think of it as temporary brain storage – which takes away from our ability to think creatively because essentially there’s no more room to work.
Good news: there ARE areas where you can background task. This isn’t the same as serial/multi-tasking. Background tasking means you do two activities, but only one requires mental engagement. The other is entirely automatic and routine, and/or uses completely different brain processing - like listening to music and folding laundry.
This means that you can divide and conquer, combining background tasking with single tasking to get everything done more efficiently, while also maintaining your sanity and the quality of your relationships. If, for example, your me-time today is going to be reading a book, then don’t try and multi-task with something else. You simply won’t get much out of your down time because it won’t truly be your time. And ask yourself: can you really listen to your kids or spouse while writing an email? No. You can put the washing on, boil the kettle and listen to the news, though! Place the line between the things that you do that make you feel fulfilled or require true concentration, and simple household tasks.
Here are a few simple ideas to help you get there:
1. Make a list of your top priorities for the day. Try to keep the big ones down to a top three that you choose to focus on exclusively while doing them.
2. Use routine to your advantage. If the household runs on a particular schedule that doesn’t require constant thought, it frees up whole sections of your brain!
3. Ask for and accept help from others. Find ways for your spouse and kids to pitch in, even in simple tasks. Everything that comes off your plate is a win.
4. Separate out activities best done while kids are asleep. This might be tasks that require concentration, or give you the most pleasure when you can focus on them.
5. Practise mindfulness. Especially with things that delight you. You’ll get more out of every moment of me-time if you’re truly present for it.
Here is a way to make this year's resolutions come true. According to Matt Cutts (below) all you need is 30 days to create a new habit or get rid of an old one. Sounds simple and doable!. Watch the Ted Talk (which only lasts 3 minutes) and join the challenge.
Happy watching and good luck over the next 30 days!
Take time to BE YOU - Founder
Click here to watch it in the TED site.
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