Monday, August 12, 2013

Project: Present - Hands-On Conversations

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Incorporating the art of "being present" into my daily life has really raised the awareness of the moments when my multi-tasking is kicked into high gear.
Driving, of course, is very high on the list of activities where the opportunity to do two or three things at once is possible… even essential. 
There may be only one other activity that trumps driving as a multi-tasking mecca…

Talking on the phone.

Headsets and BlueTooth devices were invented for a reason...
To give us ability to go hands-free so we can talk and drive… talk and type… talk and shop… talk and fold laundry… talk and cook… talk and eat… talk and brush your teeth… talk and watch TV… talk and clip your toenails… etc., etc.
Even "one-handing" or "chin-to-shouldering" with a cordless phone at home works in a multi-task-master's favor.
Productivity might dip a bit due to the 50% cut in able appendages and a bent neck, but we make it work.

It seems possible to have a good… even a productive or meaningful conversation with someone while doing a gazillion other things at the same time…
But is it really good, productive, or meaningful if you are not giving the other person and/or the conversation your full attention?

I've got you thinking about that now, don't I?

See, since starting this project, my senses are heightened and I am more aware of when I am being present in what I am doing and when I'm not.
The concept of being present when talking on the phone didn't occur to me until I was talking to someone and that person clearly was not present in our conversation.
I didn't know what they were doing and I didn't care.
All I know is our conversation was getting lost in the shuffle of simultaneous activities and it didn't feel good... I didn't feel good.

I started to think about all the times… too many to count… that I may have possibly left someone else feeling the same way...
Unimportant...  Uninteresting...  Not worth the time...

I also thought about the times when my phone conversation took precedence and the other tasks suffered…
Made a wrong turn...  Burned dinner...  Accidentally pressed delete...

Sound familiar?

That hands-free concept is a tricky little bugger.
It's that "idle hands are the devils workshop" notion.
OMG! Our hands are free! (gasp) Make them do something… anything… NOW!
And so… we do.

But I am committed to doing better about "being present."

I have only one house phone and it's corded.
I rarely ever use it… because it's corded.
Hardly anyone has the number… because it's corded.
Little did I know that corded phone would be a key to untethering myself from the subconscious need to always be doing more.
I am already doing something… I'm having a conversation… hands-on!

Just like with driving, I know I will not completely cut out multi-tasking while on the phone.
Sometimes it just can't be avoided… or rather, it's often a necessity.
However, like with driving, I am working on consciously limiting the amount of tasks and frequency of multi-tasking as well as what types of tasks I do at the same time.
For example…
Talking on the phone while folding laundry = OK
Talking on the phone while cooking = NOT OK
Who I am talking to and the nature of the call is also taken into consideration.

"Call me on my house phone"… a previously foreign phrase… will now start in heavy rotation.
The fact that cell reception effin sucks in my neighborhood certainly contributes to the cause.
A well orchestrated karmic conspiracy.