Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts

I'm sitting here with my son asleep across my lap, with one hand free to reach my computer.  Sometimes I just play spider solitaire, occasionally I'll check out craigslist, and I frequently find myself at facebook, where my friends hang out. 

Today I decided to clean up my emails, eliminate some of the clutter there.  Can you believe I have over 50 custom folders in which to organize them?  Most are not used much at all, some haven't been used in years, but they are emails I want to keep, for one reason or another.  At one point in time, I was doing a good job keeping my inbox empty, but it has creeped back up to 607 emails, most read.

While deleting emails, I came across one from a blog/site to which I subscribe.  I thought the title of the post very appropriate to share here, Monk Mind: How to Increase Your Focus.  It starts out
I confess to being as prone to the distractions of the Internet as anyone else: I will start reading about something that interests me and disappear down the rabbit hole for hours (even days) at a time.
I confess that even after reading this, as I came here to write my post, I very nearly got myself distracted away from this, simply by finding the links to place here!

Now, his post is mostly about learning to focus while using the computer to get work done, but the principles carry over to other areas of life, too.  For instance, many people nowadays say that they are great at multi-tasking.  I've said the same about myself.  It is true that while preparing dinner, I can also have a sink full of dishwater to clean as I go (don't do that as often as I should, but I know how to do it), have food simmering/marinating/whatever-ing as I chop and assemble ingredients to saute or add to a dish, set the table, pay attention to where my little man is (oh, okay, fine, you can play in that drawer, there isn't anything sharp in there), and carry on a conversation.  But is that really what multi-tasking is?

I think where we (okay, where I) get into trouble is when we try to do too many things at the same time that aren't related.  Walking and talking at the same time is to be expected.  Working on a quilt while watching a movie is also doable, as long as neither one requires much focus.  I can even occasionally do things on the computer or read while nursing my son (like now; he woke up already).

However, even that doesn't work so well all the time, because he no longer lays here peacefully the whole time.  He smacks me with his hands, kicks my hand and the computer, grabs my necklace, and tries to sit up or roll over while staying attached.   Sometimes he is going to do those things no matter what I'm doing, but quite often that means I have to stop what I'm doing and simply focus on him, look him in the eye, have both hands on his little body.

Things don't always need our focused attention; people do.   I am guilty of trying to hold conversations with my husband while playing mindless games or surfing the web, and it's the conversation, the relationship, that suffers.  My husband is the most important person in the world to me, so why do I treat my time with him with less focus that I should?  That's a real question.  I don't know why I do it.  But the next time I sit down to talk to him, that is ALL I'm going to do, because he is worthy of my undivided attention (as is my son).  And that really is what I want to give him.  So that's what I will do next time; unless, of course, my little man needs his tummy filled or his diaper changed.  I can't promise I will always succeed at this, but if I can stop long enough to remind myself of my need to focus, I know I will improve in this area. 

So now I'm going to go sit on the floor with my son and play with him.  Maybe I'll put on some music and dance with him.  

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