If you must perform an unpleasant chore, wouldn't distracting yourself make your task more enjoyable? I once thought so.
while I do household chores, for example. But a recent study published in Science contradicts this notion.
The movie crew at work building Koyper's spaceship portal for our movie, The Emissary
Reading this study changed how I go about my day, for the better. OK, I still turn the radio on. A lot. Just not as often as I used to.
I have, personally, a problem with those people who admonish us to "always, always be in the present moment!"Don't you set yourself up for failure if you attempt that? I think it's not possible to always be in the present moment, and for good reasons.
It's essential to review the past--otherwise you can't correct your mistakes.
It's essential to anticipate the future--you can plan and be prepared.
It's essential to let your mind wander--it fosters creativity and experimentation.These three modes of thinking are highly evolved human survival modes! So much so, that we overdo them. That's the problem! I think the real trick is to do them just enough, but not too much. We need a balance of being in the moment, and planning/reminiscing.
People who are depressed report spending excess time reviewing past misfortunes to no avail.
People who are anxious (hello!) report spending excess time anticipating future problems that never happen.
People whose minds wander excessively have trouble following conversations, consume entire package of cookies without tasting
any and then they walk into mailboxes.
So, if you are not going to be here now, just be aware of that, and let it be for a really good reason. Make it intentional. "I'm planning for that lecture
tomorrow morning" you can say to yourself, and write down a list of things you will need to do to get ready. Done. "I'm going to review why that conversation didn't go so well," you can say, and when you are done figuring out what you would do differently next time, let it go. Done.
One trick is just to practice noticing which mode you are in. Past? Future? Daydreaming? I find I rarely think about past events, but other people do.
I think my husband Tim daydreams a lot, but then he's got over 70 patented inventions has invented fictional stories, too. So it has worked well for him. Each mode has its pros and cons. I think we all have our favorite default modes.
My new trick is catching myself throughout the day, and asking myself, "Hey! Are you focusing on this?" It is reinforcing, because when I do stop to focus on the litter box, the laundry, the bills, I find I get into a groove; a flow. It becomes...dare I say it?...it becomes almost fun. Or at
least more fun than being in two places at once with my head. It's hard to have fun when your head is in two places at once.
Let me know if you have a practice related to this. What is your dominant mode? What works to keep you focused?