Friday, March 27, 2009

My red light green light theory, a.k.a. be where you are

In response to my last post, Ininda commented that one of the challenges she faces (and others too) is that we get distracted by other issues when trying to do school work. This is such an important point. How many times have you been trying to write a paper or do some reading and you can't concentrate because you either feel guilty about what you aren't doing (time with family or friends, work around the house, etc.)? Or the converse -- have you been in the midst of time with family or friends and realized you aren't enjoying it very much because you feel guilty that you aren't doing school work? Then on top of that there is worrying about the future -- courses, papers, new job, and on it goes.

I believe strongly that being present to whatever we are doing, increases our effectiveness and happiness across the board. When we work hard and with focus (as opposed to trying to work while replaying regrets), chances are we'll do better work and get done a little sooner and have time for the fun stuff. And when we're doing the fun stuff -- do it and enjoy! The time away from school can be rejuvenating and make us more effective when we return to readings, papers, etc. In addition, I believe the brain does good work when ideas are allowed to simmer. So doing some work and stepping away can bring new clarity.

I haven't mastered this yet either, it is a tough one. But I continue to work on it because every time I am able to be more present, I work or play with more energy and effectiveness.

The red light green light link is this.... did you play red light green light when you were a kid? If you didn't stop running when the leader yelled red light, you were out of the game. You didn't get ahead by continuing to run. So my point is, when you are running (or working) -- run. And when you have decided to stop -- then stop. Be where you are.

Thoughts? How do others handle the distraction of stress, other time demands, and anxiety about the future?

Good luck with the work this weekend! To send you off, here's one of my favorite songs. Enjoy!

More soon!

1 comment:

  1. I agree that being fully present is tough but rewarding. As a more-than-full-time business executive, adjunct professor, full-time doctoral student, dad, and granddad, I struggle with this every day.

    I've tried the "balanced approach", that is, trying to allocate some time for each role every day. I've found that that only leads to the issue of feeling vaguely disconnected from every thing and every one around me most of the time.

    I've learned that I do better when I can focus on something and then let it go to focus on something else. It's not easy and I'm not always successful, but I do better as a result. I hope my experience adds to what Harriet has said, and I wish other readers well in their studies.


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