I was on the #EverydayHustle Podcast the other day, and Adam Ali asked me a little bit about being present in the moment for people who are showing up but aren’t always present. Being present is not only important for enjoying your life as it happens, but it's also an important part of maintaining emotional and psychological well-being.
I know that a lot of people will tell you to take deep breaths and shake the past and the future, but that’s easier said than done. As someone with an obsessive personality, I’d be a hypocrite if I said that as if it was no big deal. There are three steps, however, to being present that anyone can learn from and use to focus on their current situation:
Again, the above steps are simple but not easy. There are times when you really should be thinking about the future to prepare for it, and there are times when you might need to learn from the past. That's why step one is so important: if there is a good reason why your mind is on that event, the easiest thing to do is address the reason. Write down a note about how you're planning for your upcoming event. Write down what you can do about that past event. Do whatever it takes to scratch the itch that your thoughts are triggering. Once you feel good about where you left that previous train of thought, you'll be able to match the moment and eliminate distractions much more easily.
If you can do this for just a few minutes, you can get over the hump of temptation to do or focus on something else. I have a rule to get myself started with something in that exact way; my favorite use case is doing the dishes. If I don't feel like doing them but know that they need to be done, I just say, "I'll just do 5 minutes' worth. I'll stop after that." By the time the 5 minutes are up, I'm in "do the dishes" mode and just finish doing the dishes. Find tricks like this one that work for you, and you'll be able to shift from whatever you're thinking about or doing to whatever you're supposed to be thinking about or doing in just a few minutes.