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Created In Your Image

I'm part of a small group with some other families from church. Basically, this means that every Wednesday night we get together at someone's house, share a meal, and then have a discussion that is typically based on the prior Sunday's sermon.

Tonight, the discussion was around "stopping." Namely, that stopping, or RESTING, is essential. In our go, go, go world, we need to REMEMBER to stop, to rest, to recharge, to unplug. While we all KNOW this, we tend to not be great at DOING it. What's worse, is even when we THINK we are resting, we are really just "not outwardly working" as opposed to ACTUALLY resting.

Responding Right Away.

When the smart watch/phone/tablet- name your electronic poison- is dinging, buzzing, haptic-ing (yeah, I made it a verb) it is letting you know that someone or something wants your attention. And, like Pavlov's dog, when the bell rings, we respond no matter what.

Let's do a little Q & A!

  • How many times do you look at email after you've left work?

  • How many times do you respond to said emails?

  • AND - my favorite - how many times do you look at the email, but mark it unread so you can respond to it in the morning?

  • How many times do you get a notification and see what it is, but take no action other than just reading?

Years ago, I developed an effectiveness training for leaders. My golden rule for inboxes is Sort, Delete, Read, Respond Right Away. Everyone is usually with me until the very last one: Respond Right Away? Yeah, you read that right and you probably think it's crazy. Like "What? No. I need to know what it says; but, I'll just answer it tomorrow. It's fine"

Challenge Accepted.

If you don't intend to answer emails when you leave the office, don't bother reading them. They are only a distraction. That email is not urgent or life shattering. If the answer can wait until tomorrow (and, honestly they all can), it can wait until tomorrow to be read. Oh, I know - "what if it's an emergency?" If a TRUE emergency comes up they will FIND you, they will CALL you, they might TEXT you, but they won't email you and cross their fingers for a response. Your argument is invalid.

Let's say it's now 9pm and you've ready the 10-20 emails that have come in and they're all waiting for you in the morning. You spend the night thinking about them and how you want to respond, which ones you're going to answer first and all of this is happening while your family is doing what? You may not know because you aren't really engaged. You're physically present, while mentally absent.

Fast forward- it's 10:30pm and you're in bed now. You're still thinking about 2 or 3 emails that are particularly challenging and it's keeping you awake with some degree of anxiety and stress. You can't let go enough to fall asleep for quite a while and when you finally do it's not a great sleep so you wake up tired.

About those Notifications

Yeah, about those... Turn them OFF. How can you focus and complete a task if you're a dog jumping at every notification like it's a squirrel running past you wearing bacon cologne?! GREAT SCOTT- FOCUS!

Running In The Background

It's a new day, you're back in the office plowing through emails. Shocker! No one died overnight because they didn't get an answer from you right away. But YOU, missed time connecting with your loved ones, YOU had a sh***ty night of sleep because all of these emails were "running in the background" unresolved.

We all know what it looks like to have too many programs running on the computer or too many apps open. The device's function is compromised - it simply cannot handle all of the things going on in the background. Response becomes slow and programs may start crashing until you have to power down/reboot.

In Your Image

If we are created in the image of God... the divine... then, I propose that computers/technology are made in the image of humans.

Let that sink in for a moment. Technology, is a reflection of YOU. A diluted version, with no humanity; but, a mechanical resemblance that is uncanny.

Your phone/computer can handle a lot; but, at some point there are issues and the first thing most of us do is close out the 20+ apps running in the background.

Friends, when you read those emails or watch the news full of negative stuff you cannot fix - you are opening program after program... app after app. Wondering why you are stressed, why you can't sleep, why you're having trouble focusing is not a million dollar question. You cannot dedicate your full focus and energy to the "program" you are in at the moment - whether that be family dinner, coffee with a friend, sleep, a meeting, a project at work, etc. when there are too many programs in the background.

Take a cue from the technology that has been created in your likeness. Close the"apps" that are running in the background. For the things that don't need you right now- click the red "X" in the top right corner. Focus on one "program" at a time. Stop looking at emails you don't intend to answer. All of it will be there tomorrow. Don't miss the moment you're in by dwelling on what hasn't arrived yet.

#focus #mindfulness #selfcare


©2020 by Kristin Benton.

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