I’m not speaking of the little interruptions that occur when you lose focus on a task. I’m speaking of the mindless tasks you complete every day without even recognizing for a moment what it is you’re doing. You scurry down the street toward your job focused on your phone, your email, or on all the things you’re going to say or do during the day. You don’t see the other people sharing the sidewalk with you; you fail to notice whether the sun is out or not; and you definitely have no idea of where you are or where you’re going. It’s all instinct and habit.
But what if you let go of all the distractions and simply focused on the moment. What if you looked at your surroundings and actually took notice of the day? How much more interesting your day might be if you actually participated in it rather than drifted along, going from distraction to distraction?
While going for a walk the other day, I actually took that advice. I actually put myself into the moment and was amazed at all the things I had been missing up to then. There was a hint of pink just lining the edge of the horizon. A deer raised its head and gazed stoically at me before resuming its grazing of the neighbor’s garden. A squirrel chittered overhead, unseen and hidden in the canopy of one of the nearby trees, and one of the neighbor’s cats slunk under the car, its green eyes following me as I strolled past. I wondered how often these creatures had been out there watching me as I marched through the numerous mornings ignoring everything around me while caught up in my own tumultuous thoughts or while busy texting, tweeting, or checking my email.
When at work, I often find myself disengaged because I’m too busy doing everything while on automatic instead of actually thinking about the tasks I need to accomplish and what they entail. So many evenings I would get home and think, I need a new job, this one is just so boring. It seemed that my days were mechanical—go in do the tasks, go home. Never anything different; never a change.
But you know what? Sometimes, you don’t need a new job, you just need a new attitude, a new perspective. You may do your job out of habit right now, but that doesn’t mean you need a new job. If you actually look at each task and treat it as something new and unique, instead of just the same as yesterday’s tasks, you’ll find yourself not only engaged, but perhaps even enjoying the days and the job a lot more.
In today’s world, it is so easy to become distracted. We have cell phones that do everything from letting you watch television shows and movies, read books, text, tweet, and…oh yeah, even make and receive phone calls. We have cars that let us send and receive phone calls, texts, and watch movies; we have watches that link us to social media; and we have computers that keep us linked in, hooked up, and completely distracted wherever and whenever we want. And if all that technology fails to keep us distracted, we can do an excellent job of distracting ourselves by worrying about the past or the future instead of focusing on the here and now.
So, unplug, disconnect, and stop worrying about what was and what might be, and simply focus on the what and when now. Notice the people around you, listen to the sounds around you, and involve yourself with the events happening right now. It’s amazing how energized you’ll feel when you do.