From Type A to Type Ahh

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World – Ghandi


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Separation of Work and Home

 

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My husband is now off for the summer, one of the perks of being a teacher.   Over the summer he has to read a book about choosing one word to be his guiding principle over the next school year.  It is familiar to me since this has been my approach the last two years.  Choosing one thing and focusing on it and seeing what happens.  The first year my one thing was meditation.  Quite simply just do it, imperfectly, but consistently.  Sit everyday, even if just for a minute or two.  As discussed previously this has had so many reverberations in my life.

That small focus helped me clear clutter physical, mental, and emotional.  It helped me be clearer about my purpose and led me to renewing my commitments to volunteering and vegetarianism.  It helped me try to learn to say no.

This year my word has been presence and it has been more of a struggle than I thought it would be. I do believe I am making progress though it is painfully slow.  It is also revealing some things about myself that I am not thrilled with, but I am trying to accept.  I wonder how many of us really like control and really like feeling that your worth is a little tied up in your status and in being the “go to” person.  That was not a terribly attractive realization for me.  Also simultaneously I noticed that does not make me happy.

In an effort to be more present and battle my arch nemesis, the cellphone, I started doing something to help me separate work and home.  A friend and I were talking and she mentioned a mentor she had that told her something she did to be able to effectively separate from work, and to set a reasonable expectation for those she worked with.  At the end of her day she put her out of office response on her phone and email  It was simple.  It was clear.  I decided I would try that.  I wanted it to be kind of end of day ritual for me as well as providing those trying to reach me with the necessary info they needed.  The message is not long.  It has had an instant impact.  The message is simply says, “I am gone for the day I will return day at 7AM.”  All it does is set a reasonable expectation.  I have left work and all work behind until I return.  I do sometimes find myself checking email.  I also find I am doing this less because I have set the expectation. It is sort of an actual physical act of disconnecting from work.  In our always on society I think this can be very powerful.  I anticipate as I continue this habit I will check my phone less and less once I am home.  This will give me more time to be fully here with my husband, kitties, family, and friends.

 

 

 


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Why is it So Hard to Pay Attention

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I am on day 475 of consecutive meditation.  It no longer takes any outside planning or preparation to make sure I meditate.  I know I need it.  I have seen a lot of benefit from it.  I set intentions everyday to pay attention: to the present moment, to how I feel, to how I am reacting, and to the people in my life that really matter.  In my mind I see myself in my office when my best friend stops by asking if I have a minute.  I say “of  course” at which time I fully turn from my computer and phone and give her my full undivided attention.  I listen intently and fully hear everything she has to say.  That is the me that lives in my intention.  I would like to meet her some day.

The me in reality, turns my chair 3/4 towards her with one eye on my screen and the work product I was engaged in and the other eye on her.  I am listening to her, but she is only slightly louder than the internal dialogue counting off how many things remain undone on my to do list.  Why is this so hard?  I have been working with single tasking and it is getting easier.  If a person interrupts my single task, I can’t seem to give them singular focus.  Why is it so hard to make that switch?

I have similar fantasy at home.  My husband will come in, I am absorbed in a book or watching TV and he starts talking about his day or some plans.  The fantasy intention girl closes her kindle and gives her husband her undivided attention.  She does no interrupt him when he is explaining himself and she is fully aware of everything going on with him.  The reality girl may still stay reading thinking ” I talk to people all day I just need a little quiet time with my book or Food Network to recharge.”  When we are in the heat of a disagreement I know and I want to stay fully engaged and hear everything he has to say without jumping in and assuming I know best, or that I have to defend myself or my position.  I often fall short of that letting adrenaline and a desire to be right win out.

Being there, fully there, and fully engaged is hard.  I see myself improving.  Sometimes improvement just means I recognized that an opportunity to fully pay attention was missed and I feel badly about it.  Two years ago I would have just said. “that’s me! Deal with it.”  I want to improve.  One of the things I am going to try to do is at least own it.  I am going to make an effort to acknowledge when I fall short of intention girl’s goal.  I want to admit to someone and apologize when I fail to pay attention.  I realize this isn’t the end goal, as with so many things, it is a start.  I will let you know how this goes.  Do you ever struggle with paying attention?


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Giving Single Tasking A Try

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Work has been crazy and I have felt literally underwater.  My husband and I leave on Monday for an early 20th anniversary trip to the Bahamas.  We will be at an all-inclusive resort.  I had an audacious goal.  I want to fully be on vacation, no checking into work or answering a few emails.  There seemed to be insurmountable obstacles between me and that goal: emails I had not had time to answer since December, scheduled all day outreach programs, project deadlines, and a back log of office work.  This week I employed two things that I have been actively trying to work on: saying I am sorry I can’t do that and single-tasking.  Truth be told they were hard and had the reward, an actual work and guilt free vacay with my life partner of 26 years, not been there I would have descended into old habits.  Eye on the prize…she persisted!

How did it go?  I did something I have never done.  I had nearly 1,000 email to go through so I set aside an entire morning and went through them one by one.  I have done that before, of course I have usually had on podcasts or been answering the phone or talking to someone in my office at the same time.  This time I just did my email.  More about the unexpected power of single tasking later.  Here is what I never did before.  I  deleted emails without doing what the person asked, if they just emailed out of the blue and it was not relevant.  I also responded to some and said something I never say, “I am sorry I don’t have time.”  I have to admit at first I felt guilty than I felt liberated.  It is freeing to realize you don’t have to do everything, just because someone asks.

That list of the insurmountable number of things I had to do, I decided to try single tasking.  Meaning giving each task my full attention while doing it.  Admittedly my husband has been going on and on about this for years.  How I should just focus on one thing!  Of course great for him, he is a guy. Right, ladies?  It kills me to say this, because he was right, I actually got so much done in much less time and feel like I did a better job.  Of course I hate it because he was right.  I love him of course; I just don’t necessarily love him being right instead of me.  Long story short I walked out of work on time yesterday, put my out of office to back February 26 can’t be reached and I am ready to be fully present with just my husband in the Caribbean.  See you when we return!