I used to roll my eyes every time somebody spoke about “being present in the moment” because it started feeling like an over-used phrase that no one really knows the meaning of! However, I have since taken up the challenge to try and understand what it means, in a practical day-to-day kinda way.
Being present simply means “being here now”. So, if you decide to dedicate an afternoon to playing with your children, you should be prepared to leave your cellphone on silent, switch off the tv and actually play with them – participate in their imaginary stories and get outside and get dirty with them; and if you decide to go to the gym for an hour, instead of rushing home to your kids, you had better make that the best workout you’ve ever had Mama. If you’re at the office, be the best performing employee you can be, add value, come up with new ideas and get things done.
There is so much expected from us as mothers, partners, friends, daughters, sisters, career women and we have all been guilty of being caught up in the “busyness of life – but we could all do with more stillness and focussed attention. Planning well ahead can help you “show up” for each moment.
Here are some things you can try to make your days more productive:
- Use lists: that goes for to-do lists, shopping lists, school activity lists – write down and tick off your daily tasks, workload and errands.
- Make time for yourself: modern moms are typically well-rounded, jack-of-all trades, but sometimes, you need to take the kids to your Mamazala (mother in law) for an hour or two on Sundays. This will make sure that you’re not going into a new week feeling rushed or worn-out –get an express pedi or go window shopping (note the italics).
- Use your diary: block out your diary/calendar on your mobile to dedicate time to focus on specific things – I do this for weekends. It seems like extra admin, but it helps me plan and remember things better. I dedicate the biggest chucks of the daytime to my little man, but I also fit in drinks or catch ups with my girlfriends and time to write and prepare the blog posts for the week.
- Keep a journal: document your achievements, goals, fears, thoughts, worries – let it out. Writing your thoughts helps you clear up some of the clutter up there and remain focussed on where you are going and what needs to be done.
- Set up a date with your partner or write them a love letter (I’m a sucker for love)
- Connect with friends: if you can’t do cocktails with them, make time to send them text messages to check on them and touch base.
- Wake up 10 minutes early: yes, I said it… yes, I know you’re sleep deprived, but this will change your life! Use this time to say a prayer, play out your day in your head, cuddle with your partner, or make yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy it before it gets cold for a change.
It’s not always easy or practical to do some of these things, but I find that getting more organised makes make a huge difference. When you know what you need to get through and have planned for it, you feel less rushed and overwhelmed. In the second half of 2015, how about you challenge yourself to slow things down and give focussed, positive attention to whatever we are doing, when we are doing it?
Modern Zulu Mom