Pay Attention. You’ll Get So Much More Done.
Have you ever had one of those nights where you wake up every hour in a panic? You know the morning will come and be filled with stress. You can’t even really pinpoint the source of the stress. You just know it’s there. And you know it’s a lot.
I had one of those nights last night. Every time I looked at the clock, I was grateful that it wasn’t morning yet and I could go back to sleep. But I was also running through the list in my head of all the shit I had to do this week.
Fast forward… I eventually HAD to get up. (Kids, school, ya know?)
I had 2 options:
1). Set myself on autopilot and just freaking go all day until I got everything (or most of it) done.
2). Take a good, hard look at what I actually had to do today.
Guess which option I chose?
For the longest time, I lived my life on option #1. But I try not to do that anymore. Sure, you’re productive (and I’m the kind of person who gets UBER productive when the pressure’s on), but you’re in a constant state of “Will I get it done? What’s left to do? How much time do I have?”
It keeps you in the mode of the unknown.
Seriously, just writing about it is making my heart race. I can’t live like that anymore.
Don’t get me wrong… I do live like this sometimes.
It’s easy to fall back into it. It’s easy to not make time for the things that are demanding our attention. It’s easy to believe that prioritizing giving our attention to these things is a waste of time. That all-too-precious time.
I literally spent 45 minutes of that precious time organizing myself today. Yep, 45 minutes, gone to the land of seeming non-productivity.
I didn’t get any writing done, I didn’t work on marketing my business. I didn’t plan what the kids and I were going to work on after school. I literally just sat and became aware of how much time I had and how much I could realistically accomplish.
I had to pay attention to what had my attention.
I didn’t plan to accomplish it, I just figured out what was all in front of me.
I had to do that in order to be able to allocate time to it.
This Was Step 1.
First, I had to get a clear vision of:
- The money that was currently in my bank account,
- My projected budget for the next 3 weeks, and
- Absolute finite deadlines that couldn’t be altered.
These were some of the things that were demanding attention throughout the night.
Once I became clear on these points, I knew what I had to accomplish in the next few hours, days and weeks.
This Was Step 2.
Then, I could allocate my to-dos in a realistic manner. When I wrote down the time that I had + the time that I needed to get everything done, it didn’t add up.
What would have happened if I hadn’t taken the time out of my day to calculate this? I would have run around in a frenzy and eventually freaked the fuck out when I realized I couldn’t get it all done.
This is the syndrome, mamas. The GETTING IT ALL DONE syndrome. You CAN get it all done. But if you’re not taking the step to pay attention, to become really aware of it all, you’ll never be realistic about it, and you’ll be really disappointed and frustrated and frazzled when you don’t get it done.
Plus, you’ll continue to have that anxious panic because you just don’t really even know what the voices are telling you.
So I had to make some important decisions. Was I going to give up some time or some money? Where was I going to cut that to-do list in order to feel successful at the end of the day instead of continually frantic?
I don’t want another night like last night.
So I’ll be real. This blog post is not going to entice you with many images today. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
This Brings Me To Step 3.
I am still sitting here with a nagging feeling that something needs to get some attention. Although it feels like those same little voices as last night, this feeling is different. I have one nagging little voice that is telling me that I’ve been putting too much time and priority into all of those to-dos.
And because I’ve been focusing so much attention on the practical:
- I haven’t taken time to do much vision work lately.
- I haven’t taken time to tap into my playful side.
- I haven’t exercised today.
- I haven’t showered today.
These things are crying out for a little attention. If it wasn’t for my awareness, I’d blatantly ignore them and keep plugging along, and you know what would happen?
- I’d get stuck in the revolving door of to-do lists and eventually burn out, leaving me in a rut of getting nothing
- I’d lose that fulfillment and inspiration that I get from the little things in life, leaving me noticing the drudgery instead of the beauty and magic.
- I’d get fat. Eventually. And I’d get really antsy and irritable immediately.
- I’ll be honest, guys—I will really stink if I don’t get a shower today.
The Bottom Line
So my day started out with a lot of little things crying out for my attention. While they haven’t gone away, I’m in a much better place to focus on them and cross them off the to-do list one by one. Furthermore, giving them my attention made me more realistic about my to-do list. I have a keen sense of what is realistically going to get done.
What else did this attention do? It gave me space to put some awareness into the other little voices crying out for my attention.
And now what am I going to do?
I’m going to take a quick look at my to-do list, reevaluate what will actually get done today, and go for a run.
I am also going to make a decision to pull out my awareness planner tonight to help me get in the mode to do some vision work.
Oh, and don’t worry. I am definitely going to hop in the shower.
Leave me a note in the comments: What is crying for your attention right now?