Mindfulness seems to be the opposite of productivity. I like to multitask. I like to be productive. Maybe that's why the idea never resonated much with me. When I read How to Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness by Jan Chozen Bays and tried to start some of of the exercises, I couldn't even get through the first week. I have not even finished the book yet. (So unlike me.)
When I started my clinical work as a trainee play therapist, I realised that I am not in control of my mind. I look but I do not see. My mind wanders away. Far far away. I started meditating more frequently. I even did it daily at a point in time. Why did I stop doing it so frequently? Hmm, I guess I was actually kinda demotivated when despite my daily practice, my mind still wandered. Anyways, I do it weekly. Sometimes.
I can't recall where I read it, but Gretchen Rubin says, "it is better to do something every day, than to do it some days. For a few weeks, I have started incorporating 3 daily habits: exercise, brain training games and read. I thought 3 would be a nice place to start. I realised that once I started this, I am way more energetic. More disciplined.
So, I decided to try out the mindfulness exercise: leave no trace. Basically, when you use a room, you tidy up when you leave, as though you were not there to begin with. I had a bad habit of dumping dirty dishes into the sink and letting them pile up, so I wanted to start here. It was tough, especially when I wanted to go right to bed after dinner and a movie. I made myself wash up. And guess what? I felt a sense of accomplishment and it felt good! I felt satisfied the next day, too, when I walked into the kitchen to see it all clean. It's tough when I'm pressed for time, but I think that this is definitely a habit I would like to maintain!
Next, I decided to tackle my next bad habit, glancing at my phone at every red light! Why did I feel a need to do that? Am I so impatient? The exercise: focus on breathing when waiting. Waiting for the lift. Waiting for the traffic light. Focusing on the breath can help me feel more centred.
This is the beginning of my journey towards being more mindful.
"Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing." - Jon Kabat-Zinn