I am not currently sitting in a hip coffee shop writing this blog, though if you’d like to imagine me doing so, feel free. I am in my pajamas, it’s raining and cold outside (what is up May?) and the dishwasher is putting out some nice white noise that is threatening to put me to sleep. Ahhh, the life of the working artist. It’s Monday which means a week is looming ahead full of appointments and deadlines. Things to DO. Lots of things going on in my head about art, marketing, techniques, processes, insecurity, doubts, fear, and then hopefully courage, too. All of that gets blended up with kids, hubby, dates, conversations, moments, laundry, and dishes.
So, how to avoid total distraction which leads to an inability to just do the things that need to be done?
I have a mantra and honestly, I think it really started sticking in my head once I had a little girl who loved to play with ALL of her toys ALL the time EVERYWHERE in the house. When the day was done and it was time to clean, the chore of putting away all the sparkle beads mixed in with the Barbie shoes mixed in with the miniature kitchen foods and play clothes she changed out of 15 times (you get the picture) was overwhelming and tear-inducing. Where to even start?
It’s simple, and we all know it innately, but somehow in this world that teaches to multitask we’ve forgotten how to do just one thing at a time.
And that’s it. That’s the mantra. Focus on one thing at a time. Focus on putting away that one Barbie shoe and then that piece of wooden orange slice and then that pile of crayons. Focus on writing that one blog post (this one! 🙂 ) and then focus on that one pile of laundry. It’s living in the moment, focusing on the task at hand before moving to the next. It’s thinking about what you’re doing and putting your energy into that one thing instead of lumping all the 50 things together, losing energy and spirit, and quitting to go have a margarita. (okay, never mind, always go have a margarita.)
It’s not brain surgery and it’s not rocket science but it is an intentional way of living. It’s actually harder to apply than you think, especially if you’re used to doing 10 things at once. I’m not great at it all the time. I’ve noticed I am more distracted when I carry my phone everywhere. It dings for texts and emails or Facebook, twitter, or instagram alerts. It’s constantly saying “look at me! I’m fun and interesting!” In actuality, our society existed just fine and with more elegance and eloquence before any Apple device came along. I lament the days when the front room or parlor was used for lively games, conversation, book reading, and music recitals…people engaging with one another instead of being distracted away from their lives.
I’m an admitted Tolkein lover and there is a passage in The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Rings) that is a little eerie when you replace the idea of the One Ring with our societies obsession with phone devices:
Bilbo drew his hand over his eyes. ‘I am sorry, he said ‘But I felt so queer. And yet it would be a relief in a way not to be bothered with it any more. It has been so growing on my mind lately. Sometimes I have felt it was like an eye looking at me. And I am always wanting to put it on and disappear, don’t you know; or wondering if it is safe, and pulling it out to make sure. I tried locking it up, but I found I couldn’t rest without it in my pocket. I don’t know why. And I don’t seem to be able to make up my mind.’
Does this not describe how dependent on our phones society has become? I think it’s chilling and something to consider.
I’m making a 30 day goal to be on my phone less. I’ll still post and I’ll still be active but I’m committed to it taking up less of my day and moving on to the next one thing I have to do.
Remember when we had time to read a book? Remember when our coffee dates were to talk and drink coffee instead of work? Remember the olden days of yore when we dialed up and could only check email once a day (or maybe once a week?) (If you don’t, then you’re super young and so hush now darlin‘).
The phone goes off, the tasks at hand are dealt with one by one, and then maybe at the end of the day, we’ll all have more time to focus on our wants rather than our many needs, maybe read a book, have a piano recital, or play a game of charades…how fun would that be?
Go forth and conquer the day. Carpe Diem! <3
P.S. In the time it’s taken to write this, the dishwasher is finished, it’s time to start some laundry. Then maybe a painting this afternoon? Oh maybe I’ll check Facebook first….hehe j/k. Ain’t nobody got time for that.