This week I am on vacation — on what was supposed to be a sort of sabbatical. A time alone by myself to reflect and tackle some projects in a big way. I planned some major goals for myself that I was super excited about because I knew there would be no distractions. I would be 100% in charge of my schedule and have the space to get things done the way I wanted without pressure to show up for work or family in a particular way.
But then I changed things. I decided to take my oldest child with me. It was 100% the right decision, I don’t doubt that at all. This time — just the two of us — is amazing. But he is also a major distraction and a detour in my goals I set.
I was getting coached on this very topic yesterday because I have been struggling to find balance in my schedule. I don’t need to work all day, nor do I want to while I am on vacation, but I do want to put in four hours of work and get the projects and coaching done that I need to accomplish. And my child acts like I am working 24/7. My spending 15 minutes on something feels like a couple hours to him. He has no sense of time.
Why do I share all this?
Because it has caused me to reevaluate. And I want to share what I have learned from this experience that can help you.
I could remain in resistance to my actual reality.
Meaning, I could keep wanting to get these big projects done and work uninterrupted for four hours per day. Which by the way is what I thought this vacation was going to be like. That was my expectation.
However, because I made the shift and brought my son along, I ended up with a different reality than I had planned.
Yet, I had continued to think things should be the same as if he wasn’t here.
Do you see the struggle in that thinking?
I was causing myself pain by holding on a thought of how it should be and thus having resistance to how it actually is.
Thus I was caught in a mental game of tug and war.
This is something I often catch with my clients when they share what’s going on in their lives. I can see clearly for them and hold space to help them evaluate because I am objective. That is more challenging to do when it is my own life and I am emotionally attached to my thoughts.
That’s why I love having a life coach to help me and that’s also the great value I create for my clients serving as their coach.
Great coaches help you see your thoughts.
So what I ended up doing was re-evaluating my vacation. My son being here is not a problem. The problem is how I was approaching the time we have. I want to be able to make this a memorable experience and cherish it so I am happy to give him plenty of time with me, but I also want to make the most of this time away from my normal commitments to exercise my privilege to get the work done.
I had two apparently conflicting goals.
But using my brain — just like you can tap into yours — I was able to discover the solution.
Instead of needing to commit myself to longer blocks of time — telling myself I need that time to get into the zone and produce the most amount of work — I began working on the thoughts to create the ability to work in very concentrated shorter bursts of time. So now I am working in 30 minute to an hour increments and then alternating out with an hour of focused time with with son. This balance is something he can accept and work with as well.
We struck a balance that works for us both and I grew in the process by proving to myself what I am capable of – the working in shorter bursts of time — in order to get my tasks done.
Yesterday and today, I practiced this with him, and I was able to work through my necessary tasks while still keeping pace with his needs.
I have to admit I do feel very ready for bed tonight. I think it is taking a bit more mental exertion because this is a new practice for me, but it is amazing to me to witness what I am capable of, that only a few days ago I didn’t see for myself.
It all happened because I explored what was possible for me and was willing to believe in myself that I could do it differently that how I had been. That shift changed so much.
How could you start to explore what you are capable of?
Maybe you pick something you have a lot of resistance to, or something that is presenting as a challenge in your life right now.
How could you explore your thoughts and discover a new way of looking at things that opens up new possibilities to make it easier?
That’s a fun experiment to try for yourself. You might just blow your own mind in the discovery process and uncover a better way of operating in your life.
I am hopeful of being able to practice this short term attention or intermittent exercise practice when we return back to our normal routine. It will allow me to get more done besides feeling the need to block out larger chunks of time with no distractions.
I’m holding on to the thought that not only is this possible for me, but this is a good skill for me to have.
What would be a good skill for you tap into?
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