Stopping the bumper cars

Photo courtesy of trbuckley (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of trbuckley (Creative Commons)

For the past several weeks (well, who am I kidding – past few months), my life has felt out of control and completely overwhelming. Organization and productivity feel just out of reach, and the days have been flying by faster than normal because they are completely filled with stuff – not even always fun stuff – just stuff.

I’ve been wondering what happened, and then I realized that part of the problem is that I’ve neglected the practice of my three focus words. I’ve let life and work take over and shove me around like I’m in a bumper car.

I need to be more intentional.

My three words this year are MOMENT, BALANCE, and DIRECT (read more here).

MOMENT: My moments have been a blur lately, and that needs to stop. Even when I run in the mornings, my mind seems to be full.

I tried something this weekend on my long run which seemed to help. I practiced mentally skipping stones with the worries (read about that here), and then used voice to text in my task list app to collect the little “things I need to not forget to do” that kept popping in my head. That took the pressure off needing to keep that in my head until I finished, as well as the frustration that I experience when I get home and then still can’t remember what it was.

Being able to let go of those things allowed me to practice mindfulness for the rest of the run – I started noticing the things around me more – the birds singing, the flowers and trees blooming, the clouds – I felt more at peace.

BALANCE: My calendar is going to be the tool of choice for rebalancing my life. I live by the calendar already – what would I do without the chirps reminding me of meetings or to do things like stop at the grocery store on the way home from work? I need to seek more equilibrium in work and rest, giving and taking, focusing on others and on me. Making plans to have lunch with a friend or blocking off time to read will offset working all the time. Deciding to take a rest day from running to let my body recover is healthier than pushing the workouts every single day.

DIRECT: As usual, I’ve let myself be managed instead of managing and directing my days. I know what to do, I just haven’t been doing it consistently. I have plenty of tools to be able to schedule, plan, and create a productive day and week, so I need to be proactive instead of just reacting to what gets thrown at me.

For instance, I get a lot of interruptions, and tend to stop and deal with whatever it is and then struggle to get back to finish what I was doing originally. My desk usually looks like a disaster by lunch, and I find myself apologizing for not getting things done for people or for making mistakes. What I need to do is stick with my plan, and actually be strong enough to say “let me finish this first.” I suspect I will accomplish more that way instead of trying to figure out where I left off when I come back to it.

There will still be times when life gets out of control, but by intentionally staying focused on my three words, I can recover more quickly when there are disruptions.

How do you regain control?

3 thoughts on “Stopping the bumper cars

  1. Another great post Carol. We do live in a world of overwhelming distraction, but that can be fun and welcome to.
    A little focus comes to my rescue every now and then…. Whether I want it to or not !

  2. Carol, thank you for bringing this to the forefront of my attention because so many “other” priorities appear to gaining ground and not with my blessing. Good tips. Pat

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