For the second time in two years, I’ve fallen into the pool while cleaning it. But it wasn’t a “clean” fall, the kind where you clear the edge of the pool and simply get wet. No, each time I’ve racked up the right side of my body. Two years ago, it was a torn rotator cuff and soft tissue damage to my leg. Two days ago, it was a banged-up knee and a broken foot.
I was thinking about What’s Next when I should have been thinking about What’s Now. And I paid the price. A few lessons:
1 – Multi-tasking is BS. You’ll be a jack of all trades and a master of none. Fully focus on what you’re doing now. Epiphanies happen in the moment. Lightbulbs go off when we’re fully relating to the person we’re talking with. Breakthroughs occur when our mind can engage the “now.”
2 – We not only put ourselves in harm’s way when doing tasks like cleaning the pool or mowing the lawn, we put others in harm’s way as well, particularly when we’re doing something like driving. Put down the damn phone. No personal or business call or text is so important that it’s worth risking your life or the lives of others.
3 – Multi-tasking leads to monkey mind, the term that Zen Buddhists use to describe the endless chatter that goes on in our brains, not unlike drunken monkeys swinging from branch to branch. It’s almost impossible to achieve something of value when monkeys are in full swing.
A few months ago, I began taking time every Sunday night to quietly review the week past and to plan the week ahead. This included making a list of the one thing that had to be accomplished by the end of the coming week.
Everything else was lined up under that one critical goal. It’s a useful process that allows me the freedom to focus, because I know that what has to be completed, from that singular goal, to everything that supports it, has been memorialized. It is out of my head and into my calendar.
So, what happened? I didn’t trust the process.
I allowed myself to be pulled out of my focus on the “now” and into thinking about the “next.” Queue up a broken foot.
Moving deliberately and intentionally while being thoughtfully focused on the “now” not only produces superior present-moment results, it also produces a clear mind, so that when the unexpected does arise, you’re far better equipped to deal with it.
Stop. Take a breath. Focus. What are you doing right now? Do it and only it. Then move on to What’s Next. Repeat.