I find myself checking email, Facebook, and websites at stoplights during the few seconds to a minute it takes for the light to change. The need to be connected at all times has crept up as a large priority for most of us. Inc.com writer Eliza Browning tells us “(i)t’s hard not to be distracted these days. We have a plethora of devices to keep us occupied; emails and phone calls come through at all hours; and we all think we have to multitask to feel efficient and productive.”
Many states have outlawed texting while driving, and some have even required a hands-free device while talking on the phone in your car. If you know that you’re not supposed to touch your phone when you’re behind the wheel, why is the impulse so great?
What about when you are not in the car? Do you give others around you the face time they deserve? Browning shares “(w)hen I worked in news, everyone was attached to a BlackBerry, constantly checking the influx of alerts. But my executive producer rarely used hers—and for this reason, she stood out. She was present and was never distracted in editorial meetings or discussions with the staff. And it didn’t make her any less of a success.” I have been in a multitude of meetings where participants barely looked up from their smart phones. They occasionally nodded, or made a noise that could have been an “uh-huh” or maybe they were just clearing their throat. On the receiving end of this behavior, I have felt that these meetings are a complete waste of time – not only to me, but to the absorbed user of the mobile device as well.
To truly be efficient, productive and successful, give others some good face time. Use eye contact, provide insightful and timely feedback, and participate on a level that you and they deserve. If you find that you can’t pull away from those electronic distractions to fully attend a meeting, then don’t go.
I started my day today with the discovery of a large chocolate stain on the back of my pants. I am thankful that I made the discovery before I left the house, and not let the world wonder just what exactly happened to my backside. I had to think of where that chocolate stain came from, when I realized that I typically carry around chocolate chip granola bars in my car for my kids to snack on during their ride home from school. I usually open the granola bar package with one hand, my teeth, and eyes on the road. Apparently, those sneaky chocolate chips decided to fall in a most inconvenient place in my rush to feed my pre-dinner hungry children.
How often do we eat on the run, standing up at our kitchen counters, and while we’re doing a number of other tasks? Medical experts (and our mothers) urge us to “take one bite at a time” when eating. I always thought that this helped in digestion, preventing hiccups, and to clean your plate. The message these words of encouragement also send is to slow down!
For those of you that are coffee and tea drinkers (I’ll throw wine in there, too), this is one activity that you can’t do quickly. You have to just take a sip. What if we approached other areas of our life with this same concept? Sometimes time constraints make us want to shovel it in all at once, but certain activities force us to slow it down and savor the moment. When you take a sip, instead of a gulp, do you appreciate more what you are tasting? Would you continue to consume the same things if you had to do it slowly?
My son brought home a flower bud he found laying on the playground at school yesterday. He was adamant that we put it in some water so it could “grow.” He didn’t understand that once a flower is broken or cut from its stem, that it no longer has the chance to grow. We placed this broken bud into some water, and to our surprise, the bud bloomed overnight. He was thrilled! And my husband and I were surprised. Even at the young age of three, my son is savoring those “sips” of life. What joy he brought not only to his day, but also to us as his parents when we witnessed this simple beauty of slowing down and savoring those small moments together.