I got invited to a virtual tea party the other day. I joined my grandchildren in Texas for a few moments as I had a cup of coffee and they ate homemade cookies and drank some tea with plenty of milk and sugar. As I watched them enjoy their afternoon snack, I was impressed by how focused they were on the task at hand. 100% of their attention was focused on eating freshly baked snicker-doodles. I sipped my coffee, chatted with my daughter-in-law, took note of a message that popped up on my phone and tried to snap a few screen shots of our long distance time together. For the little ones, though, it was as if nothing else existed except those cookies.
I am jealous of their youthful ability to focus. I think I’ll enlist them to be my productivity coaches! My world is filled with distractions as I try to get things done. I’m often trying to do too many things at one time. I eat while watching TV, clean while listening to music, talk on the phone while watching the dog. Even though preschoolers can have a short attention span, I took away these lessons on focus from that occasion.
Just have one thing in front of you. They had nothing in front of them except two cookies on a paper towel and a cup of tea. No crayons, books or toys. Just the snack. And they enjoyed every bite. It wasn’t till after they were done that we chatted.
Set a time. The tea party was scheduled for 4:30 pm, so that’s what we did. Block out the time. Put your task on the calendar.
Have a goal. Know what you need to get accomplished. Eat two cookies. Drink one cup of tea. For me it might be writing a certain number of words or making a certain number of phone calls or making a lesson plan.
When you’re done, you’re done. When the cookies are gone, it’s time to play. Or color. Or build legos. Finish one task, then move on to the next.
Be in the moment. They savored every bite and sip. They had just one thing to do: enjoy the snack!
I don’t know how many articles and books I’ve read about focus and productivity. I’ve learned a lot from many sources. But lately, I’ve learned even more from the little people in my life!