Do you remember life before phone reminders, iCalendar, and Slack? A time before meetings, appointments, calls, events, flights, and the countless other obligations you have in your schedule? Can you remember a time when the only things you were thinking of ahead of time were birthdays, holidays, and play dates?
Fast-forward to the present.
Many of us are busy professionals, parents, creatives, leaders, etc. with a dozen things on our plate at any given moment. And our responsibilities aren’t going away any time soon. We get through the day handling as much as we can, then get up the next morning to do it all over again, for as far as the foreseeable future extends.
We struggle to stay on top of everything because we have more tasks to keep track of than our linear minds can handle, ergo our handy smart devices. But sometimes our smartphones fail, or a new app doesn’t work out, or despite our best efforts we manage to schedule an important meeting for the wrong date. With all of its benefits, modern technology can’t do all the work of our own minds.
Because we’re constantly juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, attempting to perform amazing feats of memory and multitasking, it’s no surprise we so often feel stressed, overwhelmed, and burned out. How can anyone be expected to function, let alone thrive, under such pressure? Yet so many of us hold (and are held to) unrelenting expectations of high speed, high productivity, and constant activity.
So where does that leave us with trying to manage everything without falling apart?
There’s good news.
It IS possible to stay on top of all your responsibilities without letting yourself get stressed out. You CAN manage everything with less stress and greater ease, without having to rely 100% on technology.
Paradoxically, the solution to staying stress free involves not thinking. The less you think, the more stress free you’ll be.
The key here is not to simply zone out and disconnect - that’s just dropping the ball on your responsibilities.
The secret is being in the moment with a quiet mind. Past posts have talked about the importance of self-connection - turns out, stress-free multitasking is another practical application of that skill.
Once you know how to be fully in the present, anything you need to know will pop up for you in the moment. Can you imagine how liberating this is? Let the pressure off of your linear mind. You won’t have to hold yourself in a tightly wound cycle of checks and reminders to keep track of every single thing. You already know all the things you need to do within your vastly capable mind-body system of holistic intelligence. And you can learn to access what is needed of you in the moment, as the time calls for it. (See Dr. Meredith Sagan, MindAlign Institute founder, demonstrate this technique in this video.)
It may sound too good to be true, but give it a try and see how this system can work for you!
(Quick note: We believe in operating from presence, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you should completely stop using your other task management methods. This is a technique to HELP you multitask with less stress, but does not replace the need to actively take part in managing your responsibilities.)
How to Multitask with Less Stress
Start by dropping into connection with yourself. When you’re in a state of high stress, it’s challenging to calmly and objectively sense into what is needed of you.
Turn your attention inward.
Notice where your feet are contacting the floor.
Simply notice how you are feeling, without trying to change anything.
Anchor your attention into the sensations you are experiencing, right now in the moment.
Stay with your inner experience until your body is relaxed, your emotions are calm, and your mind is quiet. Now you are in a state of self-connection.
Holding this inner alignment, allow yourself to open up to the different parts of your world.
Imagine you are at the center of an invisible web, which involves all the things you are a part of - work, family, relationships, and more.
Imagine you are using a subtle radar system to feel your way into the moment into what is happening in the whole of your life.
Feel into your current environment.
Where are you right now? What is happening around you?
Feel into your professional environment.
What is happening at work? What are you aware of, that you need to do?
Feel into your personal relationships.
Where are the people you are thinking of? How are they doing? Is anything coming into your awareness of what is needed of you?
Great! You just used practical mindfulness to manage your tasks.
What came up for you? How was this holistic perspective, centered in self-connection, different from a more linear approach?
This is an exercise in connecting within, to know where you are at in different areas of your life by observing yourself with your awareness from a higher vantage point than your linear, logical mind. So instead of stressing the 20 minor tasks on your to-do list, you are learning to use your broader awareness to detect if there is an outstanding problem that demands your immediate attention and do what is needed in the moment to address it.
Put differently, this technique is way to use your awareness to detect where there might be an imbalance, and direct your attention and intention toward bringing your life back into balance. It’s about sensing and feeling into what’s needed in the moment, and in the whole of your life, to make things work.
This is not an easy skill to implement right off the bat, but the more you practice living in self-connection the easier it will be to manage multiple areas of your life with less stress and greater ease.
Try this method out for yourself and see how it can help you manage your life!
What do you think? What are some things that you do to manage stress with your busy life? Please comment your tips, techniques and questions down below.
For early access to MindAlign content like this blog post, check out our Patreon account! For as little as $1/month, you can help support our efforts toward building a more mindful world and get a first peek at blogs, videos, and other content.