There is so much happening in our lives. We believe we need to do more, have more, be more! We are on a mission to complete our always-growing, never-ending to do list. Do you ever feel like you are on autopilot with some aspects of your life?
I know you have experienced this ~~ You arrive home after a long day at the office, only to think to yourself, “Wait, what? How did I get home?” You shifted to autopilot.
Sure, it seems like you are able to spend time planning dinner, working through a challenge at the office, juggling schedules with the after-school activities. But are you really being effective with any of the tasks? Not to mention, you sure as hell are not present while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle in rush hour traffic!
It is a scary and unsettling feeling.
We find ourselves on autopilot in other areas of our life. When was the last time you ~~
Savored the taste of your dinner or glass of wine?
Listened to music, and did nothing else?
Talked with a friend or family member in person, without your phone?
Read to your little one, without wondering how fast they will go to sleep so you can do X, Y, or Z?
Done ~~ insert your favorite hobby ~~ and did nothing else?
Again, it is a scary and unsettling feeling to find yourself in the middle or end of an activity only to realize you were on autopilot. You were not engaged or present. You missed out on connecting with yourself or others.
What would happen if you purposely stayed present during any of these activities?
Studies show when our brain is constantly switching gears to bounce back and forth between tasks ~~ especially when those tasks are complex and require our active attention ~~ we become less efficient and more likely to make a mistake. (Note: this is the true meaning of multitasking)
This might not be as apparent or impactful when we are on autopilot for those simple tasks, like listening to music while walking, or folding laundry while watching TV. But when the stakes are higher and the tasks are more complex, like driving in rush hour traffic, trying to multitask can negatively impact our lives ~~ or even be dangerous.
When we switch off the autopilot and focus on the task at hand, we are able to accomplish more and be more productive. When we practice being present in the moment, we open ourselves up to our creativity and are able to learn and grow through the process. When other people are involved, we are able to deepen our connection with them.
Next time you find yourself on autopilot, take a quick assessment of the various things you are trying to accomplish. Then, determine which task you need to focus on first. Try to ~~
Set your intention. If you have lots of tasks to get done, set an intention for what you want to accomplish and in what order. Doing so could help you focus your energy on one task at a time.
Take a breath. Breathing in deeply and letting it go helps to improve your ability to focus and pay attention to one thing at a time.
Use the "20-minute rule." Instead of constantly switching between tasks, try to fully devote your attention to one task for 20 minutes before switching to the other.
Batch your tasks. If you are having trouble resisting the urge to check your email or engage in another distracting task, schedule a set time in your day to tackle it. By batching similar tasks together and setting a time to handle them, you can free your mind up to focus on something else.
Limit distractions. This may mean seeking out a quieter place to work, switching your phone off, and turning off notifications and alarms.
What would happen if you purposely stayed present during your daily tasks?
How much more efficient and effective could you be by being present and not on autopilot?
What are you missing out on by cruising through life on autopilot?
If these questions or topics intrigue you and you want to explore with me, schedule a free 30-minute consultation. You can also join my mailing list below to keep in touch.