Being present is hard.
If, like me, you have a job, a husband, little kids, a life outside work, passions, and other obligations.
When you have all those things, your mind is constantly thinking about those things. Not to mention, maintaining the house, doing the laundry, thinking about what’s in the fridge, what’s not in the fridge, what’s under the bathroom…
All that going through your head can make it so hard to be present.
But here’s the thing: when we’re present, we can live with more joy. We can do better at the things we want to be great at.
So I’m going to give you a really simple (but not necessarily easy) tip for being more present.
It has to do with your physical space. While we are busy in our minds, we have to know that our minds and our bodies are connected. It’s extremely important that as you think about being present, as you feel frustrated for not being able to be present, that it’s not just in your mind.
It’s also in your body and your physical space. Being present has as much to do with your physical space, as it does with what’s going on in your head. For you to be present, you can practice utilizing your body and your physical space.
Let me give you three ways that you can physically work on being more present so that it’s easier on your mind.
Get into their space
When it’s with your kids, get into the space with them wherever they are. Whatever they’re doing, physically put yourself there.
When my son comes up to me and wants me to play with him, I used to say, “Okay, sure.” And I would sit on the couch and engage with him and kind of half-play with him, but my brain was always somewhere else.
What I found is that if I actually get down on the floor with him, I’m able to release some of that other stuff going on in my head and be much more present. Getting on the floor, getting to his level helps me to be more present.
The same goes, if you have older kids or a spouse or a friend that you’re trying to be present with, go into their space and then be there.
With my husband, it might be going into his office and having a seat there to talk to him. With my friends, it could be going into the backyard or on the front porch. Go someplace other than the area that drives you to think about, “Oh, I need to clean up this place. When’s the last time that I vacuumed the carpet” and all of those things.
Get into the space of the people that you want to be with, and you’re going to be more likely to be present.
When we’re present, we can actually do better at the things we want to be great in.
Create a space
Another example is to create spaces for the tasks that you need to do or for the place that you need to be. This is important when we think about working from home.
I started working from home in the pandemic and a tiny Brooklyn apartment with four living beings – my husband, our two kids, and a dog.
I worked either in our bedroom or at the table. That was the play table, the kitchen table, the hobby table, the bill-paying table. It was the one table in the entire house. And what I learned from that is that I have to create a workspace.
Now I’m blessed with an office and it’s amazing. And still, in my office, I have to create that space. There’s one really simple thing that helps me to do that. When it’s time for me to work, I open my laptop. And when it’s time for me to stop working, I close my laptop. That opens the space that says to my body, “Hey, time to start working and focus on work.” And when I close that laptop, it says to my brain, that’s the action that means it’s time to stop working, time to do other things.
Creating that physical space for work is important.
When I was in that tiny apartment with no dedicated workspace, I made a mobile office.
I had a bag and in that bag, I put my laptop, my notebook, and my pen. I put some gratitude cards that I like to look at. And whether I was going to the kitchen table or the folding table in our bedroom, I would pull those things out and set them up.
I think, “I’m in my space to work.”
Create space from your phone
Whether we like it or not, we are attached to our phones.
Have you ever got a ghost ring? You feel a notification, but your phone didn’t really vibrate.
We are physically and mentally attached to our phones. At least, I am. So when you want to be present, separate yourself from your phone. Even if it’s for 15 or 30 minutes, just put that phone in the other room.
If you need to wean off of being near your phone, or you might need to always have your phone active for work, set an alarm for 15 minutes or 30 minutes and set that phone someplace else.
When the alarm goes off, you can go off and pick it up.
Those are my tips for helping you to be more present. Remember, being present has as much to do with your body as it does with your mind. So put your body in the right place and your mind will eventually follow.
Simple doesn’t mean easy.
Pick one of these tips to implement today, and take action!
P.S. If you want more resources to help you thrive as a working mom, my Work-Life Harmony bundle can help you find joy in each day and keep you connected with your goals.
Get the roadmap to Work-Life Harmony here!