Maybe it’s that darn picture of the Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat that causes us so much trouble. Donned in that tall, but slouching, red and white striped hat, we invision ourselves able to juggle many things at once. While the cat was physically juggling a rake, a sailboat, several books, a tray of milk and cookies, a birthday cake, a fan, and that infamous goldfish in a bowl, we mentally try to juggle several tasks at once. While some of us try to juggle the tasks for an upcoming sales meeting while planning for the vacation that we say we will some day take, others mentally juggle sending off two final emails before leaving the office while also checking the calendar for tomorrow’s meetings. And just as the cat eventually loses control and creates a physical mess with his juggled objects crash to the ground, so too do we mentally crash when attempt to do too many things at once.
If you are a working professional with family responsibilities as well you likely understand the implications of how concentration issues can affect your life. When you are at work attempting to focus on tasks that must be completed by the end of the day, the end of the week, the end of the month, or the end of the quarter, you are distracted by issues at home. When you are at home attempting to enjoy family time eating dinner together, you are checking your phone for the latest emails and calendar changes. In essence, until you discover how concentration issues can affect your life you will likely never be present either at work or at home.
Mindfulness Experts Offer Advice on How Concentration Issues Can Affect Your Life
A quick search of the internet provides an entire list of experts suggesting ways to slow down the rat race of today’s frenzied life and become more mindful of individual tasks and opportunities:
- Ariana Huffington’s latest series of articles, videos, and interviews about the importance of sleep in our lives.
- Krista Tippett’s On Being podcasts and interviews with guests who help her consider The Big Questions of Meaning.
- Mark Williams and Danny Penman’s book Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World explores every day practices that can become habits.
- A Madison, Wisconsin, educational expert discusses a new startup school useing mindfulness to help teachers connect with struggling learners.
- Michael Burnham, a mindfulness instructor, works with employees at a Memphis-based healthcare system that noticed stress was keeping workers from performing their best.
- Amanda Gore’s Wired for Joy monthly publication that teaches managers how to help their employees to be more mindful and present in the workplace.
Even adult coloring books which hit the market in full force last Christmas focus on what it means to stop, focus, and be mindful about the simplest of tasks.
Mindfulness Is the Same as Being Present
Once you realize the implications of how concentration issues can affect your life, the next step is to look for ways to improve your concentration. In today’s lingo, concentration is often referred to as “mindfulness” or “being present.” While distractions and stress can lead to conditions as varied as migraines and low testosterone and decreased muscle and decreased strength, mindfulness is an anti aging strategy that can enhance every part of your life.
The recent focus on mindfulness in this country may be an attempt to remedy the poor sleeping habits of many Americans. In fact, an April 12, 2015 blog in the Huffington Post called Sleep Is a Company’s Problem, indicated that while employers would never allow workers to come to their jobs drunk, they seem to think nothing of keeping their workers up all night making and completing company imposed deadlines and goals. Instead, the blogger Charlie Kim, founder and CEO of Next Jump, indicates that companies would be far more productive if they taught their employees the importance of rest and mindfulness. Kim goes on to explain that tired workers who nod off during the day not only cut into the health of the company, but they also cut into their own personal health.
While reading the Cat in the Hat may be a fun way to share the joy of reading with children, following the cat’s habits is no way to approach life.