Sometimes, I feel as though my mind is overloaded. In fact, I know it - and the problem is, I like it that way.
It's my own fault, of course. As I write, I am sitting on my bed. I have eight Safari windows open (this screen, Twitter, Roger Ebert's and Sarah Wilson's blogs, PilotHandwriting.com, Laura Tingle's feature article for the Walkey Foundation, Dominic Knight's latest article for ABC The Drum and "How beaches looked 100 years ago"). The Big Bang Theory is playing on my tv. The manuscript for my novel is open in Microsoft Word. The Wealthy Freelancer is laying open beside me on one side, my iPhone on the other, whilst I wait for an email to arrive in my inbox. And this is a Sunday, my one "day off" a week.
My penchant for "multi-tasking" is of huge annoyance to my boyfriend Andy. He likes to do most of the same things I do: read, use social media (my chosen mode is Twitter, his is Facebook), watch tv, cuddle. The difference is that he likes to do these activities just one at a time. I can't. Focusing on only one task makes me antsy and frustrated. I can't handle it.
My inability to focus is an issue for several reasons...
1. It prevents me from totally immersing myself in an activity. Eating lunch? The tv is on. Watching a movie? I'm on twitter. At a party? I'm checking my iPhone. (TERRIBLE, I know. I am One of Those.) This constant distraction means that I am never in the moment, that I don't fully enjoy whatever I am experiencing. I'm missing out.
2. My mind is overloaded with all sorts of useless information. Do I really need to know all the names of the designers of Project Runway? At about 15 designers per season, that is over 120 names. Surely there is something more worthwhile to store in my memory bank... High Court precedents, for example. The names of people I actually know, even.
3. I don't allow myself, or my mind, to breathe. Those moments are, of course, my best opportunity to be inspired.
Thankfully, my mindset has changed now. I'm happier and more at peace with myself. I spend my spare time writing and connecting. Yet, I still feel uncomfortable with silence. I have a compulsion to be busy, instead of taking time to think and be still. I also feel an obligation to be well-read, informed and know "what's going on", whether within my circle of friends or the world at large. So how to ease myself into a streamlined, simplified, focused frame of mind, and have my lifestyle reflect that? Prioritising, for one, by ascertaining what is contributing to my wellbeing, and what isn't - or worse, what is hindering it.
So therein lies my August aspiration. Don't get me wrong, I can't bring myself to part with the latest season of Project Runway. I love it! But I am going to mitigate that frivolity with frequent respites, to think and reflect and be inspired. I will live in the moment, slow down and be gentle on myself. I am going to meditate everyday. I am going to break away from my bad habit of being engaged with dozens of things at once, and, instead, just focus on one at a time.
P.S. Just one day after I posted this, my poor laptop self-combusted. I guess it is protesting, too!