This week, we all made a new friend in our latest “Real Mindful” feature with Evan Trimble (MBA ’18) of Indiana’s Kelley School of Business. Just like the rest of us, Evan has a ton of things going on, but he makes time for mindfulness because he’s realized one of its superpowers: it helps you use your time better. When you’re focused, you waste less of it – or use less of it unintentionally, anyway.
The deal is, though, that you have to make the time, to get the time back. That’s the conundrum, and one that a looooooot of people struggle with. Only one way to get through that, though, and you know what that is. Without further adieu, welcome to this weekend’s “no-fail” mindfulness challenge!
See what I did there? It’s ok if not; I’m a nerd. Anyway, this weekend’s challenge is simple yet – depending on your weekend – not exactly easy-peasy.
Time and attention have an interesting relationship (remember when we got really deep about it last April?) The more focused you are on the present moment, the less quickly it passes. When you stop paying attention, it kind of runs away from you.
One of the points of mindfulness is to train your brain to notice when it wanders off, so you can choose if you want to bring it back, or let it go. That’s why we practice it. It’s a workout that makes your brain stronger at doing this when you’re in traffic, with irritating people, and up against tight deadlines. When you’re mindfully “in shape,” those moments are less of a big deal.
Just like a personal trainer would tell you about your body, you gotta put the time in if you want the results. Even just a little makes a difference. This weekend, because you’re always up for a challenge, you’re going to find that time, and make it happen.
Your goal is five minutes. If you have more than that, you are more than free to offer it up. Five is the goal, though. You can use a meditation app, or any mindfulness exercise you choose. Take a look at mindful walking, mindful eating, or even a little yoga. Five minutes, and done. You easily use that time mindlessly scrolling or flipping through junk mail. I promise you that no matter how busy you are, you have it.
With that time, no matter how long or short, do the practice. Be intentional. When your focus wanders away, take note and come back, leaving the internal chatter about how you’re “bad” at this behind. It’s not useful, and it’s not accurate. As you’ve heard me say a million and one times, the “coming back” is the meditation.
In other words, exactly where you think you got it “wrong” is where you did it exactly right. You noticed, and you brought your attention back – in a matter of seconds, potentially.
It may have felt longer, though. Funny how that happens, when you’re paying attention.