Being in the Moment, Really

Being in the moment has become almost a catch-phrase of hipness. There is a competitive zeal among social media posters to show how in-the-moment they are.

From The Problem With Multitasking.

From The Problem With Multitasking.

It makes me chuckle when being in the moment hits the wall with the eagerness to multi-task. Text messages are sent with the expectation that you will stop doing whatever you are doing (including teaching or driving) and answer the text. Last week a client chided me for not getting back fast enough. When I explained that I was teaching–standing in front of a classroom teaching–and returned her text at break, she said it wasn’t fast enough. “I expect more from my vendors,” she said. The only comfort I could offer her was the same level of concentration and attention would be hers when I was working with her.

It always surprised me when my coaching clients read their emails or check Facebook during their coaching session. There’s been enough research done to make me sure that reading Facebook takes up most of your attention and distracts you from coaching.

Being in the moment allows you to focus on one thing exclusively. Deeply. Thoroughly. Multi-tasking (which really doesn’t exist, we task switch, paying attention to one thing at a time, and switching back and forth) seems like a much more attractive skill when we are waiting in line or waiting for someone to pay attention to our needs.

Yes, there have been some studies that show that creativity is enhanced when creative people make blender-pulses of thought over similar circumstances that gave different results and picking experiences that coincide with what you are working on. That doesn’t sound like multi-tasking to me, that sounds like lateral thinking about a single problem. Staying in the moment.

Still, when the doctor is finally in your room dealing with your paper-clad self, you want all the brain power focused on you. You wouldn’t take kindly to the doctor checking emails and texts while you are talking about your suppurating wound.

In yoga class, I noticed a woman who was checking her texts between downward facing dog and child pose. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of yoga?

Be a proud single-tasker. Take the time to be and stay in the moment till the thought is done. Re-capture the ability to concentrate on one thing at a time for more than five minutes at a time. Your brain will thank you for it. (And so will your coach).

-Quinn McDonald was never a good multi-tasker, and always was horrible at collating anything.