How hard is it for you to focus on one thing at a time? Technically, our brains can’t think about two things at once, but the speed at which we switch from one thing to another can make it feel simultaneous. When this happens something often gets overlooked while we move on to the next thing.
While searching the internet for information on mindfulness I came across a site that claimed mindfulness can alleviate pain. That triggered thoughts of my tendonitis and the fact that my elbow brace order from Amazon was overdue. Soon I had switched over to “track my order.” Squirrel!
Anyway, back to mindfulness… today I’m not referring to practices of yoga or meditation, but simply paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment. You might be wondering what that has to do with organizing, or your mind may have wandered off to another topic completely, in either case, today's Time Tips describe four ways that being mindful can help create a more peaceful and productive environment.
Timely Tips for mind over matter
Arriving Home - You walk in the door thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner, what the electric bill is going to be since you left the air conditioning on again, and how to weasel out of an evening meeting. You’re not mindful of the stuff you hauled in from the car and mailbox and how it’s now landing in various places around the kitchen and dining room.
By paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, you can alleviate the piles of clutter created in this mindless state. As you pull into the garage and gather your things, consciously think about where you’re going to put them. Choose to stay focused until they get there. Now you can move on with your evening without having a disaster waiting for you at the end of the day.
Shopping - Oh look, that’s cute! It’s on sale! One-click ordering! It’s easy, it’s seductive, and it can contribute to your clutter when you’re not shopping mindfully. Pay attention to what’s driving your desire. Is it shopping therapy after a rough week? Is it keeping up with your peers? Rather than mindlessly ordering online, or coming home with something that will get crammed into an already full closet, mindfully ask-- is it something I need, can afford, and have space for in the present moment? Shopping while tired or hungry can impair your mindfulness whether at the grocery store, mall, or at your computer.
Transitioning - When you finish a project or are leaving one thing to do another, what is the state of the area you’re leaving? You’ve finished wrapping the gift, but is the wrap, scissors, and tape put away? Being mindful means you’re paying attention to the present moment, not moving on until you’ve put things into place. It’s one of those valuable Kindergarten rules that keeps us from having overwhelming messes to come back to. One mindful tactic is to walk backwards out of the room or office. It may feel silly, but it will help you to be conscious of having things in their place before leaving.
Morning/Evening Routines - We tend to go into auto-pilot when we’re getting ready in the morning, or going to bed at night. If you wake up to and return home to a disaster in your bedroom and bathroom, then some mindfulness may be in order. Remember, it’s paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment. As you’re getting undressed think about where you are. Position yourself by the dirty clothes hamper and shoe rack. This will keep your floor clear for walking, not stepping over things. As you get ready in the morning, mindfully take the extra seconds needed to put things away as you use them—hair dryer, toothpaste, etc. I’m not talking about maintaining model home status, simply having some clear space. Once you’ve been mindful about this new pattern for awhile, it will become second nature and you can resume planning your next vacation while brushing and flossing.
"Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment." -- Oprah Winfrey