Here are some questions to get you started:
- Do you do things without thinking?
- Does each day feel like the one before?
- Do you have a hard time remembering things that you did even the day prior?
- Are you unclear what’s important to you?
- You don’t have goals that you are working towards?
If you answered ‘yes’ to more than one of these questions, you’re on auto pilot throughout your life. This is where you unconscious mind is driving the bus and mindlessly controlling how you go about your days.
It happens to all of us. It happens to me more than I would like to admit.
It is so easy to become caught up in distractions, responsibilities, tasks, requests and the list goes on. We are constantly either thinking about the future or the past. How a mistake we made yesterday is going to have such a big impact. How we are nervous for a big presentation tomorrow.
Constantly out of the present moment.
The present moment can have different definitions. I define it as “having singular focus on what matters the most to you in your daily life.” Many people think of it as deep meditation and focusing on nothing else but quietness in the mind. While this is not necessarily wrong it is also not exactly practical either. In the relatively short time that we have on a daily basis to focus solely on meditation, that definition works and what we aim for.
What about all of the other moments when we are deep in work, family obligations, and major life responsibilities? A little tough to leave that all on the back burner to go mediate for hours. That is why I prefer the much more practical definition.
Now, the question is when we are going throughout our day how do we remain present? It is done through intentionality, awareness and purpose. Having a plan, a roadmap, and structure. These are the foundations for building more presence into your life.
Here are four tangible ways that you can implement being more present into your life:
- Goal setting and reverse engineering
- This involves mapping out your goals. Let’s say you have a goal you want to achieve in 1-year. Reverse engineering then includes breaking that big goal down into parts and time periods. Creating monthly, weekly and daily goals from that main goal is going to provide you with action to take on a daily basis. You have something to focus on now.
- Having a daily schedule
- Scheduling your day is a key piece to having intentionality and ultimately, being present. Time blocking or chunking your day is a strategy that is very effective. It involves completing one task within a specific window of time. In that time frame you are focusing on that one task only. Once that time frame has ended you move onto the next. This creates singular focus and helps to move forward on your most important tasks each day.
- Eliminating distractions
- In order for step one and two to work this element is essential. Eliminating any distraction that pulls you away from your goal and schedule is key. Whether it be technology, kids, a spouse, colleagues, or otherwise there is always a way to implement a system in which eliminates distractions during your most important work time and remaining present with it. Vice versa, when it is family time the work distractions go to the side. Email, phone calls, text messages and everything else that comes with work is put down.
- Increasing your self-awareness
- This one is a longer-term project. It takes time, practice and patience. Increasing your self-awareness is about understanding and recognizing when you are becoming distracted. It is easy for that auto pilot to take over and keep you engrained in distraction. This is not about punishing yourself for being distracted. The aim is to recognize and redirect. Kindly remind yourself that you have become distracted and go back all in on the task you set out to do!
As with any skill in life, being present is just that. A skill. It takes practice and time to make progression. If you diligently add these strategies into your day, you will begin to recognize immediately the great pay-off that comes with it. Being more present equates to a higher level of productivity in business and career, better relationships, controlled emotions and overall better quality of life!