Multitasking. It used to be a thing, right? If you wanted to succeed in a career, multitasking could have get you half way there. To me, multitasking was also a kind of my coping mechanism. Back when I had no idea what to do with all the emotional pain I was carrying. The pain that accumulated in my whole being after several traumatic experiences that I never got to work through and heal. So as much as multitasking was totally draining my whole system and depleting me from life energy, it seemed to be the only way to go through each day without much emotional suffering. Physical exhaustion somehow seemed to be easier to control, just shut off your body sensations and you can keep on doing things.
Feel like you’re losing it? Hold the leash shorter. Tighten the grip. Have another coffee. Add another thing to your to-do list. Say “yes, I’ll do it” even if you’re already doing more you can handle. Do not stop. Because if you stop you might start feeling something. Emotions may rise. And you’re done.
Through all those years my mind got used to working 24/7 on highest speed. It was safer for me to have it this way instead of allowing myself a rest, instead of opening up to feeling as I could end up staying at home crying in my dark cave for too long. And who would go to work for me, right? There was no one beside me to take my hand and say “breathe” and I had no idea how to do it myself. So I kept on going on this autopilot for years and it worked great for numbing my feelings, though often I would add various substance to make the mix work better.
It all changed when I opened up to my creativity. When I started painting again after well over 20 years, my inner world and vulnerability burst open. And I was feeling it all deeply again, as I always did but mastered wearing the mask. I started allowing myself to slow down, observe, be aware, acknowledge the feels, reflect, go within, just be.
Yet every so often my hard working mind would still feed me with that old story. And I realized that these are the distractions that try to get me back in that loop again, my mind was strategically using the multitasking mode so I could get in my own way. And start making excuses, “I am so busy”. And procrastinate. But ah-ah, this time I wasn’t able to cheat to my body and my heart. What I would package as “busyness” was just fear.
Hey, you are afraid of what you really want to do in your life, you are afraid you will fail, you are afraid what they might think. You are asking yourself this question “who do you think you are to do this?”
So what’s better than a well-tested and familiar multitasking mode so you can get away from it all, right?
Not this time. This time I am open to it all. This time I want to be fully myself. This time I am ready to look straight in the eye of all that is uncomfortable and do the work. If I want what I want, I need to be 100% real with myself and 100% in it.
Intentional living & conscious creation.
I heard these words couple months ago and my heart gave me a loud YES.
One step towards that is Eliminate Distraction. Internet, specifically social media. A blessing but can also be a fantabulous self-sabotaging tool. Especially when you have an online presence related to the work you do. I noticed I was get a serious FOMO (fear of missing out) if I wasn’t on social media.
Not for watching videos on YouTube (but I’m not going to lie, I did that too) but mostly for checking for various self-development events and networking gigs, going through posts in various groups I joined, but also looking at what other people in similar industry were doing. And boom. What a great invitation for inner critic to rule my day.
So I made a conscious choice to eliminate this distraction and invite focus. How? Pretty simple steps:
Put a watch on my wrist
I started wearing a watch again. So I don’t need to reach out for my phone each time I want to check the time. And then spend time on scrolling social media. Funny thing I lost the watch just about a week after I dug it out from my secret box. So I went to buy a new one, some $20 one that would do the job. Yes, I was committed to make this change. Then the house owner we house sat recently texted me she found my watch. So now I have two.
Create folders on my phone
I organised all the apps on my phone into folders. E.g. social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest sit in a folder called social media. I also have a folder for Email & Internet Browser, Finance. It’s a no brainer really but until I got a new phone few days ago I never thought of that. Now the social media icons are less visible instead of “jumping at me” as soon as I look on the phone (I know I trick my mind here but it works)
Use essential oils
When I know I have a certain task to do, I love lemon and peppermint essential oils in my diffuser – honestly I don’t remember myself being able to get focused so well that I smash the task, like yesterday I organised a monthly calendar of classes I am running in March, chose and edited photos, wrote descriptions for each class, set up all events in Facebook and Eventbrite. Multitasking would take me nowhere. Focus on a specific task and I have a huge chunk of work done.
There are many ways to eliminate distraction from our lives. I would love to hear what works for you – feel free to share in the comments below.