Are You Present or Merely Productive in Your Life? Have you noticed that we seem to live in a cult of productivity? As long as we keep busy and work hard and make a lot of money, society deems us as “successful” and “worthy.” But when we go-go-go all the time, we miss the majority of our life.
How many of us are actually FULLY present in our day-to-day life? Not many. We’re too busy trying to get ahead, pay our bills, keep up with the Joneses, climb the corporate ladder, be perfect and realize all of our “if onlys.”
“If only I made more money, then I would be happy.”
“If only I could lose 20 pounds, then I’d finally feel happy.”
“If only I could meet my soul mate…”
“If only I could live in a better neighborhood…”
“If only …”
Busyness Gets in the Way of True Meaning and Purpose
Now don’t get me wrong, being a productive person can be a good thing. It’s important to manage your time well and get important tasks done.
But there are many people that have a real need to stay busy, as if they are running from something. As if all of that busy will somehow give their life purpose and meaning.
But useless business tends to do the exact opposite. When we focus on being good little efficient and productive people, we don’t allow ourselves the time and space needed for self-growth.
Productivity is overrated and often leads to burnout. What we REALLY need is more PRESENCE in our life.
Annie Dillard, author of “The Writing Life” wrote, “how we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.”
Are you spending your life being productive? Or are you spending it being FULLY present in your life, able to experience all of the meaning and miracles that are at your fingertips?
Busyness is ultimately a distraction from going deeper. But when we combine productivity with presence, we begin to find real meaning and purpose in our lives.
The Practice of Being Present
If you are a productivity-aholic, being present in the moments of your life will take some practice.
But how do you DO it?
Become a Noticer
We miss so much of our life, like 90% of it each and every day. Start paying better attention to AS MUCH as possible. You know there have been times when I noticed something I hadn’t before in my kitchen. How many times had I been in my kitchen and I never noticed that one of the electrical outlet covers was clearly crooked, or that my toaster had a convection setting?
Start really looking at the world around you. You will be AMAZED at how much “stuff” you’ve missed that has been right in front of you all along. The more you start to notice things, the more it happens naturally. It will REALLY blow your mind.
Be Grateful for Tiny Blessings
Once you start getting better at noticing things in your life, you’ll start to become aware that you are literally SURROUNDED by miracles. A pretty songbird that lands outside your window and serenades you. A neighbor that gives you a friendly smile and wave. Getting that parking spot. We are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful world. If you have love and laughter in your life, you are blessed! Give thanks for all of the miracles, big and small, that have been gifted to you.
Check in With Yourself
Get into the habit of checking in with yourself throughout the day. Stop what you are doing and just become aware of YOU in that moment. Ask yourself, “What am I thinking right now?” “How do I feel?” “What do I want or need in this moment?” You can then begin to take in your environment and notice what you see, hear, smell, etc.
Presence requires solitude, and solitude requires distance from distractions. Make sure to unplug from your digital devices and social media and the news each day. Allow quiet time where you can simply BE.
If you are someone who has historically planned every second of every day with “to-dos”, it’s time to give up some of that control. Sure, be organized and plan your days. But make time to just go with the flow. Let go and let GOD!
Life is so incredibly precious and so many people are missing it. I encourage you to stop being busy for the sake of being busy and start being more present in your life. When you make this switch, you will perhaps find the meaning and purpose you have been searching for.
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