I’ve noticed that my attention span seems to be decreasing. Even when I’m reading a book, I can’t help but keep my phone nearby “just in case” I get an important text message, e-mail, etc. Let’s be real – I don’t have anything that urgent I need to check on where I can’t set aside a solid half hour or more to immerse myself in a book. However, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve really lost focus lately – even with a good book!
I’m not going to point my finger at technology, as I am definitely a user and consumer of technology and love many of its efficiencies and benefits. However, if I take a step back, I wonder whether I always need to be “connected” and whether I am really more efficient when I am multi-tasking and checking e-mail, listening to a podcast, and bouncing back and forth with text messages at the same time. Probably not… It got me thinking about single-taking versus multi-tasking. It seems like there quite a few thoughts and articles on this topic as of late, and I keep hearing the benefits of taking time to single-task, which creates more mindfulness and awareness.
In a society where we are “on” 24×7, I think it really becomes challenging and more of an effort to single-task and focus on one thing. Given my recent lack of focus, I am going to challenge myself to single-tasking and try to be more present and “in the moment” which each thing I do, whether it be the mundane like folding laundry to the more important things like a chat over coffee with a friend, or when escaping in a good book. Anyone else out there encountering similar challenges?
Wow, how is it already September 2016? In case you didn’t notice, I took a bit of a hiatus with the blog. 🙂 I’m back and look forward to catching up. I’ll follow up with a post to recap my reading so far this year. I have to admit, I didn’t set any specific reading goals this year, and while my reading as been all over the place (fiction, non-fiction, poetry), I’m hoping to refocus this fall, as I usually do with the changing seasons and weather.
While I continue to plug away with my reading, I’ve also been thinking that I really need to put all of my beautiful blank books and journals to good use! In addition to collecting books, I seem to have a “thing” with writing journals and blank books. I love to purchase them with the great intentions of getting back into writing, and then the journals sit on my shelve collecting dust. Hopefully I’m not the only one out there with this habit! 😀
I’ve never been big on “journaling”, but I’ve started thinking that I could really benefit from this practice. I love to write, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, I really haven’t made the time to foster and support creativity. Part of the issue with breaking into my journals is that I don’t want to “ruin” my beautiful journals, and part of the issue is that the perfectionist side of my rears its ugly head and if I don’t have something that I think is worth saving in a journal (i.e. a great poem, thought, etc), I tear out the page. I’ve made a few attempts at some free writing, started and then didn’t keep with a gratitude journal, and also jotted down some reflections. I would like to get back into the practice of writing – I just need to figure out where I want to start. Perhaps I’ll start with some of the writing prompts I’ve received from a writing class and online?
Any fellow writers or wannabe writers with tips or words of encouragement?
Now that I have one of the songs from The Sound of Music in my head, I’ll get to my post. After meeting my best friend for coffee and great conversation, I came home and reflected on some of the topics we discussed. Simplifying our lives, using what you own, focusing on balance, mindfulness and health, finding the time to enrich yourself and do what you love, the list goes on… I realized a couple of things. I need to refocus on the illusive “balance” that I continue to seek – balance with my work, personal time/interests, health and well-being. I also need to really assess all of the “things” I have at home. I still have clothes hanging in my closet (with tags on) that I will likely never wear, items shoved in the corners of my closet, and (now take a deep breath), some of my books. Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE my books, but I have also realized that at the rate I purchase books compared to what I read, which is a mixture of books I own and books from the library, I will likely never finish reading everything I own! I really took some time going through my bookshelves and giving them some tough love. I’ve justified having 4 copies of some of my Jane Austen books, but do I really need 4 copies? I started pulling some duplicate copies off of my shelves, along with some books that I’ve read and will likely not read or look at again, along with some books that I picked up that I honestly don’t think I will ever read (some dense non-fiction/reference books). I even went through my cookbook collection. I’ve picked up different books with some good intentions or to try to expand my interests, but I’ve really pared it down to books/authors I really love and/or what I really want to read.
One of my many goals is to be selective about future book purchases and only purchase books that I think I will truly love and want to add to my collection. While it was sad to see some of my books go, I have to say I felt a little lighter, in part from the weight of thinking about all of the unread books on my shelves! I tend to do a review of my shelves and purge some books every year or so, but this weekend I rounded up five bags of books. Now I hope to tackle my closets and recommit to some goals – reading, balance and healthy living.
I am long overdue for an update on my “goals” for 2015. Goals, you say?? Yes, the goals I have not mentioned since January. Whoops. Unfortunately, not much to report for the first quarter of 2015. I did get my act together starting in April and have really embraced yoga again. I’ve been consistently doing a yoga routine 3 or 4 times a week for a few weeks and can honestly say that I notice a difference. I am really trying to be present during my yoga time and have really noticed a difference in my range of motion and flexibility – I can finally touch my toes!
I would really like to maintain a consistent yoga practice (3 times a week) as I think it is good for my mind and body. However, I also need to refocus my efforts on improving my eating habits as I think that will increase the benefits of yoga and my overall health and well-being. I find it fascinating how I can be very disciplined in certain areas of my life, but seem to lack control when it comes to my eating habits. I will start off really well and then I tend to give in to stress-eating or cravings. I need to have more balance as it relates to my eating habits. I will have to figure out my game plan for May. Wish me luck!
Welcome, 2015. Now that the holidays are over, I like to take a little time to think about the new year. While I have been unsuccessful in the past at keeping some resolutions, I am going to attempt making some this year, but make them more “bite-size” goals (i.e. monthly, quarterly) with a few overall goals for the year. I’m also planning to “officially” kick off my goals on Monday, January 5, because let’s be real… with New Year’s Eve falling on a Thursday this year, some of the fun and festivities carried over into Friday and the weekend. Along with finishing up any leftover holiday treats, I plan to make a big grocery shopping trip today to restock my fridge and pantry.
A few goals throughout the 2015 year:
Be “present”. Focus and enjoy the “now” rather than always worrying about the future (this will be a tough one for me, as I am always planning and thinking about what’s next!)
Take more breaks from technology (i.e. checking my phone and text messages all the time)
Be a better listener. My mind tends to jump ahead in a conversation and think about responses, etc. Hopefully by my first goal of being more present, this will be part of the result.
Goals for 1st quarter of 2015:
Eat in more (I need a break from all of the holiday parties and dinners out)
Eat more whole foods and less processed/packaged foodsBetter meal planning and preparation. I was on a roll for a little while and fell of the wagon.
Goals for the month of January:
Yoga practice twice a week. I started getting back into yoga over the holidays and it felt great. I have to remember that even a 15 or 20 minute yoga practice counts.
Meditation. I wish I could say I would do this daily, but in the spirit of trying to keep things real, I will attempt a goal of a short meditation (even 5 minutes) three times a week.
What are some of your goals or resolutions you would like to tackle in 2015?
With the Thanksgiving holiday less than two weeks away, I really want to focus more on being grateful and mindful. When I start to wish that I had more, different, better…I need to stop and think about all of the other people in the world. It really puts my “problems” into perspective. I have a nice home, stability, loving family, husband and friends, and a good job.
Here are a few things I want to focus on for the rest of the month, many of which I already try to practice, but serves as a good reminder.
Do more with less
Inventory the things that I have – what do I really want and need? How and/or why is it meaningful to me?
Wow. November…. I always feel like it is officially the beginning of the holiday season when I have my enjoy my first Starbucks drink in the red holiday cup. It always puts me in a festive mood, but also serves a good reality check that the holidays will be here before we know it!
The title of this post is a nod to how difficult it can be to navigate through the holiday season – the busy schedules and jam-packed weekends, shopping and navigating through the crowds, the abundance of food (and lack of willpower with all of the tempting treats), and the days getting shorter and shorter (it is dark when I leave and return from work!). Needless to say it can be tough navigating through all of the demands over the next couple of months, while at the same time trying to really enjoy and savor the holiday season.
What are some of your tips for navigating through November?
Why is it that my favorite time of year (autumn and the holidays) seems to fly by so quickly? We have enjoyed some nice weather for the month of September, and as we head into October, I hope to have a good outlook. I have a few areas that I want to focus on, along with continuing process from last month. I have been better about cooking at home more often. I didn’t realize how often we were eating out until I started planning meals for the week. It has required being more organized, allowing time for meal prep on Sunday and more frequent trips to the grocery store, but the result has been more home-cooked meals. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I am feeling better as well – perhaps because I can control what ingredients I am using.
For the month of October, I want to continue to eat more whole foods and home-cooked meals. I also want to incorporate yoga on a regular basis – 1 to 2 times a week as as start. It could be as short as a 15 minute yoga routine, but I think I need to focus on frequency to have yoga be part of my lifestyle and reap all of the benefits. Finally, I want to focus on being more patient. Knowing that the frenzy and stress of the holiday season will be upon us shortly, I want to be mindful of being more patient (with people, work, processes, challenges, thoughts, and life in general). Just breathe.
Ahhh, September – welcome back. A glorious weekend with perfect weather – sunshine during the day, cool at night. You can feel the subtle change in the air as the season begins to change.
Leisurely Sunday morning sipping coffee and reading the newspaper? Check.
Spending time prepping some food for the week, including a batch of homemade granola and a batch of brown rice? Check.An afternoon walk around the lake, enjoying the sunshine and a nice breeze? Check.
First Sunday of NFL football? Check.
A pot roast in the slow cooker for Sunday dinner? Check.
I hope you are enjoying your first Sunday in September!