mindfulness, water flowing by

At the end of the day, do you suddenly wonder where the day has gone? Or on your birthday, think what happened to last year? Don’t lose today or worse still, a year–be present now. Great leaders are those who learn from the past, plan for the future and live in the present. Effective people don’t just live in the present, they are present, focusing on one thing at a time

Be Present

At a recent event, people spent more time on Twitter and taking pictures to show to absent friends than talking to those around them. We used to laugh at the tourists on a whirlwind tour who were so busy taking pictures of  Durham Cathedral that they didn’t really see it or appreciate the special atmosphere–yet we are just as bad, tweeting about what a great time we’re having instead of having it or planning the next event before the first is over.

I was one of these busy people, working, raising kids, reading, socialising, studying and living life to the full–or so I thought. I was always looking forward to the next thing, the next event, the plan for the future. Life changed and suddenly, I was older. I found myself looking back more and wondering what I could have done differently. In both cases, I wasn’t really aware of the present. It was working with people with life-limiting illnesses and those who were dying that made me change. Life is unpredictable and things don’t go to plan–if we aren’t aware of what is happening in the present, we don’t have much future.

Being present doesn’t actually take any more time–you just have to make a choice to focus on what is now. It’s about letting go and letting life take you where it will, making the best of what you have. 24-hour Mindfulness is an excellent guide to being present for busy people.

Just one thing

Recent research has shown that multi-tasking damages your brain and your career, and mindfulness can improve your focus and productivity. Being present means not trying to do everything, but focusing on one thing. Shifting back and forth between tasks feels exciting, however, it is physically draining, stressful and less productive than concentrating on one task at a time. Of course distractions will occur, and you have 3 options. Ignore them, set a specific future time to deal with the distraction, or turn your focus fully on it.

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