I was deep in thought the other day when my little boy
brought me back to the living. I wasn't stressed or overwhelmed—I was simply
lost in a summer memory that brought a smile to my face.
"What are you thinking of?" he asked, in his little big-boy
voice. Our eyes met.
"I was remembering that day when the tide was super low
and the waves were super big, and we spent the whole day riding the waves and
laughing together." He snuggled into me and found his way into my memory.
was the best day, Mommy."
I've been a daydreamer since I can remember. I daydream to
check out for a moment. I daydream to let creativity in. And, although it
wasn't the case on that particular day, I daydream to cope with stress.
When my task manager wakes me in the middle of the night and
keeps me up reviewing the "didn't do" list, I am prone to daydreaming the next
day. When I'm overloaded with work that feels difficult to manage, I am prone
to daydreaming. When some external stress threatens to send my heart racing, I
am prone to daydreaming.
If you put off the task manager, she'll find her way to speak up.
While my daydreams generally help restore my sense of calm,
I sometimes wonder if they also contribute to distraction. It's difficult to be
lost in thought while connecting with
my kids, focusing on friends, working or enjoying time with my husband.
If I'm lost in thought, even if those thoughts are positive,
I can't be fully present.
Distracted living is hot topic lately. Parents stand accused
of distraction when they check their phones at the park, fill their weekends to
capacity or spend too much time connected to the digital world. It comes up
time and time again.
I'm an under-scheduler by nature, and I don't love looking at
a screen. So I don't necessarily engage in activities that make me
appear less present. But I do get lost in daydreams—sometimes even at the park.
Distraction comes in many forms, but it can be mediated by choosing to change your habits.
Distracted living, it turns out, isn't just about iPhone
usage and attending every event that comes your way. I've been working my way through
Rachel Macy Stafford's book, "Hands
Free Life," and have learned a few things about myself. If I really want to
live with intention, I need to work on the distractions that are unique to me.
I'm still a work in progress, but here's what helps me:
1. Make time for the
My inner task manager tends to cause insomnia (often from
2 to 4 a.m.), because I put her off as much as possible. I'm great at reminding myself
that I can, in fact, get things done and that worry won't really get me
Until 2 a.m.
If you put off the task manager, she'll find her way to
speak up. And that might very well leave you completely exhausted and even more
Scheduling my work in blocks and making time to review my tasks
helps me work efficiently and keep any underlying stress away.
2. Stop and smell the
People are always in a hurry these days. So many people miss
out on life because the pull to hurry up and get there is very strong. I've
felt that pull. I understand it. But I
don't let it control me anymore.
I've learned to allow for time to stop and smell the roses
as much as humanly possible, because time is something we can never get back.
Just the other day, the kids and I found a beautiful praying mantis in our
roses when we stopped to see which were the most fragrant. We spent
30 minutes holding it, admiring it and talking about the beauty of nature.
We connected and remained in the moment, and it was truly beautiful.
3, Embrace imperfection
Making peace with imperfection is one of those things that
is much easier to say than to actually do. It's one thing to accept it and
admit that no one is perfect, but sometimes mistakes weigh us down. Sometimes
the "what if's" keep us up at night, because we know that there could have been a
Just the other day I was fretting over a few minor mistakes
in an article that was quickly shared over and over again. I couldn't see the
compliment within the shares, because the mistakes jumped off the page. When I
finally admitted this to my husband, he smiled and mused, "So it's safe to
assume that the people reading the article are moved by the writing and not
terribly concerned about the typos?"