One thing at a time

I've got a lot going on right now. I'm busy with work, I'm trying to balance that with my children and my family and my friends. I have too many things to do, too many things that have a top priority, too many things to think about and plan for and consider and ponder and yet.... there are only 24 hours in a day and there is only one of me. So sometimes I have to remind myself: one thing at a time.

My mom used to say that and I never really understood it. Now, like her, I'm a single mom. I'm working and I'm trying to raise my kids and I'm trying to be a good friend and I'm trying to find a date and I'm trying and trying and trying and not really getting anywhere anytime soon. So if I think "one thing at a time", if I give myself the option of really sitting down and thinking about just one thing, focusing on just one thing, centering my thoughts around just one thing, somehow things really do get done. Each item I need to do gets completed. Each task gets checked off the list. And the funny thing is, it all usually gets done more efficiently and more considerately and more fully than if I was working on one thing and thinking about another.

It's not easy for me, this "one-thing-focus". I'm not used to it. I'm not used to being centered. And our world isn't really wired for that anymore. In fact, by being "wired" we are almost guaranteed not to be able to think of or focus on just one thing. We can be talking on the phone with one person and texting another. We can have dinner and also be updating our Facebook status. We can have coffee and while we are waiting we are emailing clients and while we are drinking we are checking our calendar, and while we are driving away we are thinking about which one of the next 3 things on our "to do" list to tackle.

So for me, for this weekend, I'm going to try something. I'm going to make a list of things to do and I am going to try to do them one at a time and focus on each item as I do it. I'm going to start at the grocery store. I'm going to look at the oranges. I'm going to think about the chicken and I'm going to contemplate the milk and I'm going to peruse the yogurt. I'm going to do each of these thoughtfully. And I'm hopeful that starting this way will mean that I can focus on one thing, and keep my thoughts clear, and be mindful and appreciative; if only just for a short while. Because we all have to start somewhere. And making a list with "be mindful" is not so productive. Because having a list to "be mindful" when I am just starting out is really setting myself up for failure. And I'm not going to do that. I'm going to start small. I'm going to start with one step. I'm going to start with the groceries... and see where I go from there.

This is the life.


  1. I know how well-intentioned you are, but if you are like me, you'll begin one task and start another one (or two) before you complete the first. It is the nature of this beast. Have a relaxing weekend.


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