In my last post, I wrote about my ongoing struggle to do one thing – to center myself in a given task in a given moment. Since writing that post, I have actively been working to slow down and operate with intention throughout my daily activities. I thought it might be useful to share what this has looked like for me in hopes that it might inspire some of you to bask in life’s experiences a bit more.
Here are some of the little ways that I’ve been actively trying to be more present throughout my day:
Listen to your favorite song. Really listen. For the past year or so, I’ve been in a bit of a music slump. Nothing new was resonating with me and I had warn the old stuff out. Recently, however, I’ve been really moved by some new artists and find myself really craving certain songs. I always listen to music when I’m on the go – on the bus, on the train, walking down the street – but I thought it might be nice to take some really listen to them. So I made a playlist of my top 5 faves of the moment and set the scene. I dimmed the lights, lit a candle, connected my phone to my bluetooth speaker, laid in bed and just listened.
Go for a Walk without your device. I’ve always found walking without my phone to be really freeing. There is something almost rebellious about it. To go into the world sans technology is a bold move in 2016. Though I know I enjoy the feeling, it’s rare that I actually engage in this practice, as it’s rare that I go for a walk just for the sake of walking. I highly recommend making time for a short, 15-20 minute walk every now and then. It’s amazing to see how this allows you to connect with the world around you in a different way. If you can’t go completely phone free, turn off your ringer and make a commitment to keeping your phone in your pocket or bag until you reach your destination. No excuses!
Listen to a podcast. This is similar to listening to music but can be really intellectually stimulating depending on the kinds of podcasts you listen to. Because I listen to a lot of information-heavy podcasts related to politics, food philosophy, culinary technique, and health science, I often miss a lot of information because I’m listening in conjunction with some other task(s). If this is also your life, try sitting and listening to an episode of one of your favorite shows without doing anything else and see what kinds of thoughts it inspires. I was amazed at how it sparked my curiosity and also gave me ideas for my academic research, blog, and general outlook on life. Maybe use a pen and paper to jot down thoughts or anything that you want to look up/learn more about later so that you remember.
Maximize Your Browser Window. It it not uncommon for me to spend 10 minutes scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed only to end up with twenty tabs of articles that I want to read. Rather than systemically read through them, I usually skim a couple, taking breaks to open more tabs and search things on google. Eventually I make my way back to the articles, read through half of one and then I’m back to hopping around on the internet or emailing or doing any number of random things that come to my mind. Recently, I have been choosing an article to read, opening it in its own browser window, maximizing the window, and not allowing myself to click out of the window until I’m done. If I’m up for another, I do the same thing. Although I still usually have a million articles to read at any given point, taking the time to focus on one at a time somehow makes them feel more manageable and relieves my desire to hop around all over the internet.
Hope you find some of these useful! Do you struggle to just do one thing? Are there any ways that you work to stay present throughout your day? I would love to hear about them in the comments below.