Do you ever feel fuzzy? Distracted? I do! My mind is SO full of things. Thoughts are whizzing this way and that. My great big wonderful life brings tons of items to my to-do list.
It’s like standing in a huge crowd. A PoBoy Festival, for example.
There are so many voices going on around that you can’t hear anything, or all you hear is the hum of the crowd, or if you strain to eavesdrop you might hear the one conversation of the person next to you. I think this creates that fuzzy, distracted feeling and that tendency to focus (or not focus) on something else entirely. Crowds can be overwhelming, but usually they’re there because something is WONDERFUL. (Hello, fried green tomato, bacon and remoulade poboy!!)
It’s tough to deal with a crowd, but hiding from it means hiding from my life. Not acceptable. No crowd, no poboy if you know what I mean. I usually hide away from the crowd through mindless activity (like social media trolling) that lessens the crowd noise but doesn’t really do anything to thin the crowd at all.
This is a huge problem for me. I love my big ol’ crazy life. All of it! Sometimes it can just be overwhelming and I tend to zone out rather than deal with the tidal wave. It happens before I know it, and then I’ll “wake up” to half a day gone, or a deadline missed, or just feeling like I can’t enjoy my life.
You’ve heard the old saying “How do you eat an elephant? (or a POBOY?) One bite at a time!” In order to keep from getting helium balloon head and floating away from my life, I’ve got to employ the elephant eating philosophy.
Here are a few elephant bites that help bring me out of a fog:
1) Find out what I’m about. The crowd of voices in my head stems from all the wonderful things I’ve willingly brought into my life, but some voices come from other things too. I’ve got to identify the things I love, what I’m about, where I want to go. When I know that, I can tell the unwanted voices to Shut. It. So what am I about?? My faith, my family, my friends, my career, and some side interests like good books, good music, good writing, and good food. Throw in one more dash of feminine adventure just for me and that’s it. These things are my main things. These are the voices I need to hear. If it doesn’t come from one of these categories… then shut it. For me, this would include multi-level marketing (learned that the hard way), overseas mission trips, knitting my own sweaters, and learning to sew. All awesome things, but none that fit in with my life at this time.
2) Make appointments. Yes. I make appointments with myself. Nowhere near as much as I should, but I do it. I use my phone alarm to remind me of these appointments. We were visiting with my mom and dad recently and my phone alarm went off at 8am while we were eating breakfast. Caleb said “Nana, it’s time for English!” My mom asked what he was talking about and I explained that I use my alarm sounds to remind me when to move to the next thing. Sometimes that little noise brings me out of the fog and gets me back on track. I don’t want to be a drone dependent upon my smartphone to direct me. I see the phone as my secretary. My personal assistant who sounds off to remind me what we’ve got going today. If only it could pour me coffee and rub my shoulders too!
3) Re-evaluate. Every so often I’ve got to take inventory of what I’m doing and evaluate whether it is effective. Sometimes as we change, kids grow, life morphs and strategies that used to work don’t fit so well anymore. Lately the routine of waking the kids up after my shower isn’t working well. I’ve had trouble getting the kids fed and started on schoolwork on time. So we’re trying a new strategy where they are responsible for waking up on their own and getting to the table. At 16 and 11, they’re big enough to begin learning to get themselves up, and it saves a step for me in the morning.
4) Learn to transition. Every morning on my way into work, I enter the house through a back door and walk down a long hallway toward the time clock. I use that hallway as my transition. I take a deep breath. I let go of what we did or didn’t get done that morning at home and transition to business mode. I’m learning to give what I’ve got while I can, be entirely present, and then when it’s time to move on I can let go and move on knowing I’ll be back to that task again tomorrow. On the way out, guess what? Same hall. Deep breath. Work is over and time to transition to mom again. I find the transition at the end of the day to be more difficult than the beginning. Often I walk in my front door and greet my family still grinding my teeth over the work day. I want to learn to more effectively shake off the work day and fully embrace wife and mom once again.
5) Re-fuel. It’s important to take intentional breaks. Last weekend we had a little getaway. No school. No work. All fun. It was
awesome! I try to use my lunch break each day as a rest time. I usually bring my kindle and read something I’m enjoying or something encouraging. I take more deep breaths. I sit in the quietest, most private spot available. I can’t be “on” all the time or I’ll find myself totally “off.”
It’s so easy when we have lives crammed full of…. well… LIFE, to become overwhelmed. It’s easy to slip off into a fog of distraction because there’s just too much going on. I just don’t want to settle for fogged up, fuzzed out, life on autopilot. These are ways I’m trying to keep myself engaged and in tune, so that I can really live, really love, really embrace the life I have.by