Stop! Hands Up! Take Your Hands Away From the Keyboard!

by on December 7, 2011

Stop!  Hands Up!  Take Your Hands Away From the Keyboard!

The title of this posting, listed above, came to me a couple of weeks back when I found myself in the middle of multiple items at once.   I was a few minutes away from leaving for a meeting with a client.  Before I was to leave, I said to myself, let me just check my e-mail on my office computer one last time before heading on my way.  And, then I realized, I was leading myself down a familiar trap once again.  Instead of focusing on the task immediately at hand (making my way to the client session), I was distracting myself with other thoughts.  It reminded me of the TV police action shows I have watched in the past.  I’m sure many of you have seen the scene many times.  The police have the criminals cornered and they’re near their car.   The criminal is looking to use the car to get away, when the police shout, “Stop!  Hands Up!  Move away from the vehicle.”

At that moment, I felt I needed a police officer to keep me in line.  The only thing is in real life day to day situations, the only one that can police your actions is yourself.  It is easy to get caught up in all the items you need to get done in a particular day or a particular week.  Often we find ourselves thinking ahead to that task at hand that concerns us.  Or, if we’re actively involved in the items we agreed to address on that day, we get distracted by that e-mail that has come in, or that voice message that is on our answering machine.  Unless properly disciplined, our attention gets diverted to that new item in our path.  A sense of urgency comes over us to try to address it now, or to see if we can address it with what already has vied for our attention.

The outcome often is not good from this do multiple things at the same time approach.  At the end of the day, we may look back and ask ourselves what did we truly accomplish that day?  Or what we have done is just added more items to our “to do” list, because we now have on our mind the new items which have entered our sphere of vision along with the ones which were already there which have not been completely addressed.  It gets to be a vicious cycle.

So what’s the answer to all this craziness?  As I intimated earlier it does start with oneself and the ability to “police” one’s actions.  For me it has been attempting to commit only to those items I can address in a particular day or a particular week and sticking to them as well as I can.  Tasks that are particularly sensitive to me are those that involve being prepared for my client sessions, or providing myself the time I know I need allocated to properly address a commitment that has a hard date for its being completed.  I’m also beginning to realize that maybe things which I have been able to do in the past I now need to consider doing differently.  For example, the last few years I have had ample time to complete my holiday shopping.  As such, I had the luxury of going to multiple locations to find just the right items for those on my shopping list.  As the demands on my time have increased, I’m beginning to realize all that I need this year is only a few short steps away from me in the local shopping village that is near my home.  In the past I would have not thought that way.  This year, I’m seeing it is both practical in helping me to complete all that is on my plate, and still allowing me to honor the past traditions and expectations I have set for myself.

Is it easy to change one’s habits or ways of doing things?  No it isn’t, and I must admit I do struggle to make such changes myself.  However, being aware of the extra added pressure that I was putting on myself in terms of how I was living my life, is a great first step.  It is one of the reasons I find sharing these thoughts through my writings so therapeutic.  By taking the time to put my thoughts together to express them to others, it prompts me to see how I want to amend my ways so as to live my life in a way that makes more sense to me.

Therefore, if you see things spinning out of control in your life, look to give yourself the gift of taking a step back and really evaluating what is going on.  Are you trying to do multiple things at one time, as opposed to putting your best and total effort into the most important item at hand to you at that particular moment?  Is your body performing in the present, while your mind is either dwelling on what you would want to have done differently in the past or worrying about how you are going to accomplish what is ahead of you in the future?  If you find such occurrences happening to you, think back to those old police shows.  Stop, put your hands up (literally if you choose to but figuratively if this embarrasses you to do), and back away from what is going on in your life to evaluate what it is that you want to be concentrating on in the moment and what it is which can be addressed at a later time.  It will help you to realize just how much you truly are accomplishing and honoring you living your life the way which is best for yourself.

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