Living in the present is much easier said than done. Ever been in a meeting but your mind is drifting elsewhere? Perhaps you’re thinking of a conversation you had right before your meeting or you’re planning out the rest of your day. It’s amazing how so many of us spend our days at work thinking about our next vacation yet when we’re actually on vacation, we spend so much time worrying about work.
Not being present robs you of a few things. First it prevents you from focusing on the task at hand, whether it’s a work related task or something fun. If your mind is elsewhere you’re not taking full advantage of the moment. In the case of business situations, you might be missing out on key information in conversation and in the case of recreation, you’re missing out on some of those magical moments that could become treasured memories.
Second, living in the past and worrying about the future create unneeded stress. It’s fine to reminisce or evaluate past performance and it’s important to plan ahead. But you also have to live your life from time to time. If you’re constantly rehashing things that happened in the past or remembering the good old days, you’re not living your life. If you’re always thinking about the future and what’s going to happen next, you’re missing out on key opportunities right now.
Finally, you owe it to the people you’re around to focus on them. If someone is paying you for your time, whether you’re a business owner or an employee, they deserve to get your attention when you’re with them. The same holds true in non-work related situations: it’s not fair to your family for you to be thinking about work when you’re kids are trying to tell you about their day at the dinner table.
The quick solution is to pull yourself into the present. Focus on the conversation or task at hand. Listen to the people around you. If something is really distracting you and making it to difficult to focus on the present, make a quick note of it and then deal with it when you get a moment to yourself.
Just like there’s more to success than money, there’s more to life than work. Take some time to stop and smell the roses when you’re not working. When you are working, focus on the task at hand — avoid the temptation to spend you’re working hours multitasking. You’ll soon find yourself living a richer life.