Recently I wrote a guest blog post, Thriving Requires Letting Go of the Lies, for Sue’s Over Fifty and Thriving series. The idea for that post was inspired by the book, Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis (my review here). I have since decided to turn the subject into a new blog series: The Lies I’ve Believed.
In the original guest post, I introduced Delilah, my harsh inner critic who constantly reminds me I am not good enough, brave enough or smart enough. Her loud, commanding voice tells me I am better off alone than out in the world pursuing my dreams. She is quite convincing.
But I’m tired of living this way. I’m merely existing rather than embracing an abundant life. It is time to replace Delilah’s lies with the truth.
This week’s lie: Multitasking is the key to productivity.
A few weeks ago I shared how I once thought I just don’t know how she does it all was the ultimate compliment. I erroneously thought efficiency was the goal of life. That is, consistently cram as much as possible into a 24-hour period.
I devoured Stephen Covey’s bestseller, First Things First, and immediately purchased a Franklin Covey Planner. I knew this system was the answer to a perfect life. If I woke up a little earlier, maintained a strict schedule, and squeezed in a few more productive minutes at the end of the day, I would be happy.
But I wasn’t.
So I tried harder. Multi-tasking was the prescription for a more productive life: Accomplish more in less in time. Find pockets of time where you can simultaneously accomplish two tasks. Don’t just empty the dishwasher, talk on the phone with a friend at the same time. Don’t just watch a DVD with your spouse, use that sitting time to complete next week’s lesson plan. Don’t run errands in silence, listen to a self-help book and learn something too.
But rather than feel happier and more productive, I felt like a failure. I discovered I can’t split my focus. If I called a friend, I wanted to give her my undivided attention. If I watched a movie, I wanted to be fully present. If I found a few minutes to be alone in the car, I wanted silence to sort my thoughts.
Some are wired for busy schedules. They thrive on the excitement of nightly events. They feel a rush each time they cross off an item on the to-do list. The more items on the list, the greater the sense of satisfaction.
I am not one of those people. My anxiety kicks in when I have more than three events in a single week. I find myself operating on auto-pilot just to get through the week, rather than truly enjoying each moment.
Delilah would have me believe that this is a flaw in my character. She calls me names such as lazy – selfish – irresponsible – unproductive. She urges me to get back on the hamster wheel and compete with everyone else. You’re not trying hard enough.
Fortunately, I’ve discovered a new buzzword in this stage of midlife: Mindfulness.
Mindfulness urges us to discard the distractions of multitasking. Instead, we need to fully embrace the present activity, such as washing the dishes… visiting a friend… embracing solitude.
I am currently reading a new bestseller, The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll. While I adopted this planner/diary/journal system about two years ago, I knew I wanted to learn more.
I love the adaptability of the system. If you want to use your artistic talents to create elaborate page layouts, this system allows for that. If, on the other hand, you just need a place to keep track of events and tasks, it is perfect for that as well.
I am currently working my way through the book and sharing my notes on Instagram via a friend’s weekly meme: #bujobdg
More importantly, however, the Bullet Journal Method is helping me learn to accept myself.
Delilah is wrong. I am not lazy nor unproductive. Instead, I am learning to live an authentic life that brings me peace.
The truth: Mindfulness allows you to find joy in the moment.