One Thing At A Time

January is nearly over and I’m still rolling around the idea of a theme or quality I want to pay attention to, to bring into my life, in 2012.

The problem is, I already know what it is, I just keep hoping for something different. Something sexier. Something easier. Something less boring. (Not that there’s anything wrong with boring. Sometimes boring is exactly what you need.)

Despite all this, I can’t shake it. It keeps popping into my head; showing up in my life.

One thing at a time

The first time was while I was walking to my car after an appointment. I thought while I was walking, “I should check my email.” Almost before the thought was complete, another one showed up, “No. Wait. One thing at a time.” I was just a minute or two from my car, these are Portland city blocks after all. I could check once I was in my car.

So, I simply walked. I saw, and therefore missed stepping in, a mud puddle. I exchanged greetings with other walkers and say a very cute baby in a very adorable stripy outfit.

I looked at my email once I was in the car. Big surprise. NO EMERGENCIES.

It’s never far from my thoughts

Since that day, the phrase is popping into my head quite regularly. It shows up often like the first time, when I’m compelled to multitask, even though I know that multitasking lowers your IQ twice as much as smoking pot. When I become conscious of the urge, or more likely notice when I’m doing it, it’s clear that the rapid switching between tasks (because rarely are you truly multitasking) leaves me feeling distracted and incomplete. Like I’m forgetting things or making mistakes.

It’s also shown up as I’ve been thinking about the year to come. I have this desire to map things out and have a plan for moving through the months, weeks, days with a clear focus, knowing what I should be paying attention to. And yet, I haven’t been able to come up with that plan. Not with my ideas for coaching products and services. Not with my ideas for connecting with people and sharing what I have to offer. Not for the qualities I want to embody.

What if I didn’t plan out the year, but rather explored one thing at a time?

There’s so much spaciousness in that idea.

I can spend as much time as I need with each idea, incorporate it into my life, or let it go and not let it take up precious space and energy in my life.

A final sign

As if all of this weren’t enough, just as I was deciding One Thing at a Time wasn’t going away, this piece from CNN, Organize Your Mind to Organize Your Life, showed up in my inbox. Google automatically sends me links to articles that talk about organizing and decluttering so I can share them with the Facebook fans of Declutter Happy Hour, a 28 day e-course I created with my friend and Professional Organizer, Janine Adams.

I had to admit to myself that while I was pretty good at several of these rules, I often suffered for my attempts at multitasking and not fully switching from one task to the next, purposefully.

Let the practice begin

I’m already becoming adept at noticing when I could benefit from One Thing at a Time. I want to continue this. I also want to experiment with gentle ways to maintain my focus, or more importantly to regain my focus, when I find I’ve been distracted. Because like getting stuck, it’s NOT about it never happening again, it’s about how you treat yourself when it does.

I’ll also being exploring one thing, one aspect of my business, one social media avenue, one quality at a time.

If you find this appealing, I’d love to hear in the comments how you might explore One Thing at a Time in your life.


5 comments to One Thing At A Time

  • “One thing at a time” . . . when I hear this phrase, my brain seems to melt a little, relax, instead of feeling hyper-vigilant. Ah, ease.

  • What a lovely feeling Paulita! It still amazes me how much spaciousness there is in that little phrase. Not to mention how much easier it is to do things without all the churning and rushing.

  • I like what you’ve said and I agree focus is the determinate factor in what we create for our lives.
    I believe that our ability to stay focused is based largely upon our state of emotional stability at any given moment.
    On the other hand, I may just as easily say the total opposite; that our emotional stability is based on our ability to focus.
    In fact I believe both to be true. Consider this. Fear, anger, hatred, frustration, antagonism, hostility, like all the baser emotions have their origins in the domain of the Reptilian Brain Complex, fight / flight instinctual survival portion of the brain, which has no capacity to perceive other than threat to the protoplasmic survival. It is evolutionary programming at its most basic state. Should our focus be toward our back brain our focus will be hap hazard and scattered from anxiety and fear of life threatening crisis.
    However, should we change our focus toward another center of the brain, which Eckhart Tolle references in his “The Power of Now”; the frontal lobe of the cerebrum, our ability to remain focused improves based upon the relative calm within our brain because we feel at peace and as ease. We now experience the time to stay focused on something of our choosing rather than on survival issues.
    It is because we have by our free will altered our focus to the part of our brain which has the ability to contemplate peaceful awareness that we have become more able to remain focused.

  • […] my quest to do one thing at a time this year, I notice that having purposeful entry and exit points are especially important. […]

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