Slow down and check once more

Photo courtesy of Jhaymeslsviphotography (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Jhaymeslsviphotography (Creative Commons)

I waited impatiently for a response to my text – wondering why on earth it was taking my friend so long to get back to me. I looked again at my phone, like that was going to speed things up, and then noticed it. Oops, I had sent the text to the wrong person! Yikes! No wonder I didn’t get an answer!

One of the problems with the fast-moving, multi-tasking world today is that we don’t always pay the appropriate amount of attention to the things we need to. At least I don’t. I’m rushing from thing to thing. My efforts are fragmented and incomplete. I am distracted and overwhelmed.

Thank goodness I can check “sent” mail because half the time I can’t remember if I actually followed up and sent that email or just thought about it before being pulled off onto something else. My attention span is about a half a second much of the time, and if I don’t write something down, forget me ever remembering it until you mention it to me again.

One thing I am consciously working on this year is slowing down. One of my three focus words (read more here) is PAUSE, and it is turning out to be an important action for me.

It’s not just about pausing in the sense of resting or taking a break from action, although that is important too. Pause reminds me to hesitate before hitting send – to read that email or text one more time and make sure it says what I want it to (no weird autocorrection) and is addressed to the right person(s).

Pause means I stop before heading out the door to make sure I have everything I need and avoid a trip back in to get that thing I had to take with me that I was about to leave on the counter.

Pause is the breath I take before reacting to a situation – so that I react more appropriately.

I even paused during my run the other morning when I crested the hill and saw the moon setting, huge and orange. I just took a moment to marvel, and thank God for such a beautiful sight. Then I finished my run more refreshed.

I am more mindful when I pause, and I can almost feel the distractions just melting away. Do this – ONLY – and then get to the next thing, instead of this and this and this all at once. You and I both know that doesn’t work well, so why do we keep acting like it does?

When do you need to pause?