I was recently presented with the question, “What in your life gets your full attention?” Seems like a simple question. For me, it wasn’t. It’s complicated. Mostly because the truthful answer to this question is discouraging. I’d love to sit here and say that my husband, children, family and friends get my full attention, but if I’m completely honest, this isn’t the case, and not because I don’t want to.
We live in a world that has programed us to be more productive, to do things simultaneously to get the maximum benefit. Do more, achieve more, produce more, BE MORE. But here is the truth of multitasking: it leaves us less mindful, less purposeful and completely mismanaged. It leaves us with pieces of ourselves scattered, instead of fully immersed and dedicated to the task at hand.
What would happen if we decided to be more purposeful with our time? What would happen if we dedicated ourselves to one specific thing, wholeheartedly?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to stop multitasking. I’m not saying you can’t be doing the dishes, while making dinner, as you’re glancing at your favorite Netflix show. Life is busy. I’m a mom, I get it. Some multitasking is essential to function. Multitasking helps us get it all done. But we shouldn’t be going through life in a blur of multitasking madness. We shouldn’t be haphazardly finishing tasks, just to move onto the next one without any intention, purpose or heart.
Literally, as I typed this I have sent three texts, checked my email, and sang the baby back to sleep. Sometimes, you just “do all the things.” But sometimes, we shouldn’t. Sometimes we should pick one, choose one, and give it our whole heart, soul and mind. I say “we” hoping I’m not the only one that is guilty of the mayhem of multitasking.
One of my finest examples of multitasking failure is my typical Monday. Every Monday night I take my daughter to gymnastics. I love Monday nights. I get to glance over as she flips and twirls while writing my latest piece. However, recently I realized that this valuable time in my mind was actually a disappointment for my sweet girl. Last week, we switched things up and my husband took her to class. As they were leaving she very casually said, “Are you going to be working? Mom always brings her computer and works.” It stopped me in my tracks. All along I thought Monday’s were my successful day. But you see, she didn’t see it this way. She saw me as distracted. She saw me as busy, uninterested in her endeavours. She saw me looking at my screen and not at her. This is NOT the kind of example I want to set for her. If I have to choose between ultimate productivity or non-distracted love and attention for my kiddos, I will choose my sweet kiddos every single time.
Sometimes we need simple moments like this to stop us and get us thinking. Simple comments from our kiddos to center us. Simple reminders of what is truly important. Sometimes our kiddos find ways to unexpectedly help us prioritize our to-dos. Sure we still have a million things that must get done and growing lists of activities on the calendar, but how we manage them all is what says the most about us.
My 2019 goal is to stop doing more, and start being more. More intentional. More purposeful. More thoughtful. More focused. More me, wholeheartedly and non-distracted. My children and husband deserve it, and we’ll all be better for it.
**So, friends, what things in your life get your full attention? And how are you managing it all?*
A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.