Do you ever think you are just too busy? That there are just way too many demands being put on your time? Do you ever drive to or from work and kind of forget what happened on the drive because your mind was somewhere else? Do you ever forget deadlines because, well they just left your mind? Do your direct reports and other colleagues feel you are thinking about more important things during meetings or when they are trying to discuss things with you? Are you multitasking to the point of never really thinking? Be honest and ask yourself how much of life is just passing you by rather than experiencing it?
Obviously, you are not alone. Take a look at this piece in the New York Times last week written about doctors who are having the same issues as the rest of us. Can you identify with the physician who is thinking about other patients, paperwork, phone calls and a ton of other issues while his patient is begging for his attention? Can you see how frustrating this must be for both the physician and the patient? Note the point made about the high level of burnout, substance abuse and other more serious results from this behavior. It really is scary and demands some attention.
The article points out some preliminary work being done with “Mindfulness” training to help the doctors live, think and experience the present moment. This work is not just for doctors. Google “Mindfulness” if you aren’t fully aware of what it is all about. Look at the work done by Jon Kabat-Zinn and see if it makes sense. Note that there are links to Mayo and other prominent medical centers. There is a ton of free information on the Internet that could get you thinking about and perhaps even starting the practice of mindfulness.
Living life fully every moment takes some real effort. Being able to really be present for other people and to be able to fully concentrate on one task at a time takes a lot of work. It is so counter intuitive in today’s workplace where everyone seems to be working like a hamster on an exercise wheel. It is very important to note that although the hamster is going like crazy he is not getting anywhere. If you can identify with any of this, I challenge you to take the time to explore this topic further. You and everyone you associate with will be thankful you did!