3 Questions to Be Present and Stay Productive

*Note: This post was shared from my yoga blog: DancingFrogYoga.com

Here we are again. Early January. The beginning of a new year. Many people see the new year as a time to start fresh and "get it right." But I have mixed feelings about new year's resolutions. I don't think a new year magically resets my life or makes it any easier to grow and change.

Change isn't tied to a calendar. Change happens with effort. Every day--every moment, every breath--is another chance to slow down, look inside, and find a way to work on the changes you would like to make in your life.

Still, it's hard to avoid some added introspection at the beginning of a new year. Especially when Jan. 1 of my five-year question-a-day journal asks, "What's your mission?"

I gave that question a lot of thought and decided that most of my goals would be easier to achieve if I work on two fundamental areas: being more present and being more productive.

Those two efforts--being present and being productive--work together. It's easier to be productive when you stay present; it's easier to stay present when you are working productively. But they are stumbling blocks for me. It's all too easy to lose time while skimming through social media, reading online articles, or watching TV.

So I came up with three simple questions that I plan to use to help me improve.

1. What am I doing?

This question comes from observation, not judgment. It's a simple check-in to give whatever I am doing a name. What am I doing? I'm blogging. I'm lurking on Facebook. I'm making lunch. I'm paying the bills. I'm brushing my teeth. I'm watching TV.

A simple answer to a simple question. The idea is to label whatever I'm doing, becoming more aware and mindful in the process.

2. Why am I doing it?

Without mulling too deeply, what is the quick and honest answer for why I'm doing whatever I'm doing? Because... it's on my to-do list. ... I'm bored. ... I'm hungry. ... I have to. ... it's good for me. ... it's fun. 

The only rule here is to be honest. It isn't about justifying what I'm doing or making excuses, but rather about acknowledging my motives. It's about noticing the needs that are trying to be filled or the fears that are being avoided (when procrastinating).

3. How will it shape my day?

Whatever I'm doing, whether it's part of my to-do list or something else that came up along the way, how will doing it shape my day? Essentially, this means thinking about the time and energy I've already expended, as well as the time and energy that I'll have left for the rest of the day. It means creating a picture of my day so far, and imagining how the rest of the day will look with this activity as part of it.

Instead of scheduling every moment of the day, these three questions let me check in several times a day and be more aware of how I am spending my time. Hopefully, the honest answers will make it easier to make adjustments and guide my day in the direction that will serve me best.

1 comment:

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