one thing at a time

Friday, September 26, 2014

oh how I would love to drink my coffee and do nothing else! this is a shot from my session with Stella

I have this terrible habit of trying to do 10 things at once, and not succeeding at any of them. It's multi-tasking at its worst. Let me give you a concrete example from this week…

I struggle through the door and up the stairs with a baby on my hip and shopping bags on my arms. I dump everything outside the kitchen and think, "I really need to put a load of nappies on to wash." I get the washing machine started and then walk back to the kitchen to start putting away the shopping. I notice the mess on the counters and start trying to wash dishes as I put fresh food in the fridge. I'm hungry so I'm also shovelling bites of food into my mouth as I go. Then I notice that the floor is disgusting and I start sweeping up the remnants of lunch. It's at this point that I realise that I've forgotten about the washing machine, which is now halfway through its cycle with no nappies in it. Awesome. The kitchen is still a mess, the laundry pile is as high as ever and Clementine is whining for my attention. Utter fail.

I was recently re-reading Sara Avant Stover's book (as I tend to do at the beginning of each season) when this passage jumped out at me:

"Knowing the reality of these women's lives as wives and mothers, Dipa Ma offered the most practical advice she could: Practice mindfulness. Feel the cloth as you fold your laundry and hang it on the line. Notice the temperature of the water on your skin as you wash the dishes. Sense your baby's lips on your breast as she feeds. Turn away from your thoughts and become present to moment-to-moment sensations as you do your chores."
                    - Sara Avant Stover

It was just the advice I needed to hear. Instead of trying to do five things at once, do one, but do it mindfully. 'One thing at a time' has been the mantra I repeat to myself many times a day. I still find myself trying to multi-task but when I do, I pause, take a breath and commit myself to just one task. And when I do, I no longer feel like I'm running around like a headless chicken and I get more done.

11 comments:

  1. such a lovely post and such a great thing to remember to do - I'm so guilty of this too and I don't even have kids! I went to the kitchen to pick up my printing at work today (clearly the printer isn't in the kitchen) and when I got there I got distracted by getting a cup of tea and washing up some dishes. then I went back to my desk and had completely forgotten I'd printed something, then hit print again. dork.
    http://dasherlife.com

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  2. This is beautiful. Enjoy each moment!

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  3. i can totally relate. i always try to do so many things at a time that i feel like i don't even have enough time. thank you for this reminder.

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  4. I was just ruminating over this as I really wanted my thirty minutes of yoga to be over stat. I am fighting to overcome anxiety and learning to live and be present in each moment is crucial to experiencing peace. Thank you for your willingness to be transparent, it is inspiring.

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  5. Oh I love Sara's book, and I think I really need to read those words too. Thanks Gaby xx

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  6. I so can relate to this. it makes me even laugh. and by the end of the day, I am left exhausted and nothing is done. writing lists does help me a bit lately. sounds boring, but when sticking to them, things work out better.

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  7. Amen to that.

    I needed to read something like that to keep me motivated. Thanks Gaby and Sara Avant Stover.

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  8. Totally relate to the scenario - beautiful words. I need them to remember them every moment of the day.

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  9. beautiful advice! thanks for sharing Gaby! have a nice weekend ;)

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  10. Absolutely brilliant advice that is so easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of life. I love that you read that book regularly. It sounds like it definitely has some special words in there. Hope you sip your coffee slowly this morning x

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  11. Thank you, I needed to read this. Have a great sloooowwww week-end.
    ps. i love your blog :)

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