Lately, the trend seems to be that instead of making New Year´s resolutions, we choose one word to live by in the coming year. Without overthinking it, I chose the word “mindfulness” for 2014. I thought I’d share it here because I suspect I’m not alone in needing to go back to unitasking and regain focus in my daily life.
As much as I love the power of social media, the immediacy of the Internet and that I can make my living online, I feel my brain is becoming watered down by it all. I´m sure I have acquired a form of ADD brought on by attempting to take multitasking to the highest possible level on a daily basis.
As 2013 came to a close I realized I was becoming less and less efficient in managing my time and staying on task. My significant other and my kids started to ask me to put down my smartphone on the weekends, and to look them in the eye while having a conversation. Although I continued to do it all (with varying degrees of success), I felt scattered most of the time. That´s why my word for the year is mindfulness.
I want to recover the ability to read a novel and get lost in it. I want to enjoy conversations that are not work or career related. I want to feel the wind on my face when I run and listen to everyday noise around me when I walk the dog. I want to think when I drive instead of listening to audio books or music. I want to be present, in the moment, aware, more often. But, how to do this when social media and writing and editing online are my modus vivendi? I work from home, which means flexible hours but also living with the feeling that I’m always on the clock.
Well for the first few days of the year, I feel I’ve done a decent job of being more mindful. I feel this is increasing my productivity, improving my family relationships and helping me keep down my stress levels.
Read Related: Meditation on the Go, Mindfulness
For now I’m patting myself on the back for the following achievements:
- No social media once I’m in bed. Oh, I fall asleep so much faster and wake up better rested!
- No talking in real life while texting or responding to emails on my smartphone. One or the other.
- Letting my coworkers know that I won’t be checking email while doing certain other tasks. They can always text me if it’s urgent.
- Devoting some time every evening to just the family. No phone, no email, no social media.
- Reading hard-copy books and magazines. Or turning my iPad to airplane mode while I read an e-book.
- Taking regular breaks from work (I tend to obsessively work without rest until I´m done) reminding myself that if I were at an office I’d be taking breaks just like everyone else, and that it´s okay to do so!
- When I´m tempted to check my email while one of my daughters is telling me about her day at school, I repeat my word for the year to myself. Mindfulness. And then I put the phone down.
I feel that in just a few days, I’ve been able to accomplish more yet stress out less. Heck, I’ve even carved out the time to write this post. There certainly is something to be said about the power of a single word.
What is your word for the year?