Step 41 – Close the Open Tabs

I recently noticed that everyone, including myself, says, “OMG, this month passed by so fast! Where did the time go?” And I feel that every year we say it more often. Have you noticed that? It’s our fault. We just want too much and give ourselves unnecessary headaches. We put our mind in too many places at once. 

I do it constantly – I start four things at the time, often forgetting what I’m actually doing. I don’t finish tasks, because I forget that I started them in the first place. I force my brain to work four times harder and faster than is necessary, and then I’m surprised that it can’t stop working and I have problems with slowing down. We all do it. Look around. We’re not able to sit still anymore. Our head is like a computer with many tabs open. You can barely see anyone without a cell phone in their hand anymore, at least you can’t in NY. We will probably invent some kind of glove soon so we can have our phones attached to our hand all the time. 

My goal is to leave only two tabs open, or maybe even just one. There is no need to get them all started at the same time. You just drive yourself crazy. This past year I started really paying attention to what I was doing and I noticed that I create this unnecessary mess for myself. I start writing an e-mail, while checking my Instagram and jotting down notes in my notebook, not to mention chatting with someone on Messenger or replying to text messages. And I do everything at the same time. I could do all these things one by one, but for some reason, I think it’s a great idea to make my brain go wild. 

That’s why I started working on it. When I’m writing an e-mail, I’m just writing an e-mail. I won’t text someone back just because I got a text message – I will wait until the e-mail is sent. When I read a book, I will not check my phone for an hour – there is no need to check it every few minutes. These are small steps, but I have to start paying attention to them because I really do want to be more present. Plus, when you do five things at once you not only don’t do these things right (if you remember to finish them at all), but you make yourself feel anxious and stressed out right away. 

Not everything has to be done immediately. Things can really wait. You don’t have to respond to the e-mail/text message/phone call/social media comment right away. Set up time frames for yourself. For instance, I won’t check any social media between such and such hours. Or when you start a task, promise yourself that for the next hour you’ll be focused only on that task. It sounds easy, but you’ll see it’s actually not that easy at all. 

I do this exercise that I mentioned before on Just Like NY – I go to a coffee shop at least once a week and sit for half an hour just watching people. I don’t touch my phone or any other device. I just let my brain fly. It calms me down (and it helps me realize how addicted to my phone I am). 

Take a closer look at yourself and see if this is also your problem. If it is, it’s a good idea to start working on it. It’ll really help you to live in the present and will decrease your stress level. And that’s something we all need.