Pay Attention to What You’re Paying Attention to

Last night, I was packing for a weeklong trip to see my mom who lives an hour away. I had promised her that I’d bring a written car repair estimate from a garage I frequent so she could ask her preferred mechanic about it. I had three sheets of estimates for three different repairs, so I took the one I wanted and placed the other two estimates back in my file.

When I got to my mom’s, I opened my planner to retrieve the estimate. Oh-oh. There were the two sheets I didn’t want, the ones I thought I had re-filed. Obviously, I had re-filed the one I wanted instead. This is me sighing heavily and slapping my forehead with the heel of my hand.

I couldn’t help but think of the time my wife and I were dropping off Erin, our five-year-old daughter, at a babysitter’s. I handed her a piece of Dentyne when we got out of the car. My wife told Erin to give the wrapper to me so she took off the wrapper and handed me the gum. I chuckled but she didn’t realize her error until she put the wrapper halfway in her mouth. I still tease her about that!

I constantly remind myself to slow down, be present and pay attention to what I’m paying attention to. Unfortunately, I’m not making much progress, especially when I’m rushing about. The more distracted I am, the more likely I’ll make easy mistakes and bump into things. I’ve proven to myself through experience that the slower I move and the more deliberate I am, the faster I get things done. Yet when I’m trying to get somewhere on time, I throw that knowledge out the window, invariably mess up and end up spending time instead of saving time.

Perhaps someday I’ll learn how to be a friend to time. Then finally, time will be a friend to me.


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