The Present You Can’t Open

July 31, 2018 by FlexPro

So, is anyone else’s summer flying by? We’re almost into August and while I always envision summer as the time to relax more and take a vacation, it seems that this summer I’ve been extra busy. Believe me, I’m not complaining, I love that there’s been so many exciting things going on at work and at home. However, as I recently paused to admire a beautiful sunset after a storm, I realized that I haven’t spent a lot of time lately just “living in the moment”. In a FlexPro newsletter a few years ago, Rose talked about the skill it sometimes takes to just sit back and enjoy the moment. I think we can all agree that in our hectic lives we often forget to stop and smell the roses, watch the sunset or even just savor putting our feet up and doing nothing after a really long day. It’s as though we feel guilty about taking time for ourselves, and let’s face it, sometimes we really just need a minute.

As project managers, our planning skills and ability to think ahead are part of what makes us good at what we do. We’re all about setting goals and striving to achieve them. Yet while these are admirable and valuable attributes, we often find ourselves missing out on the moment because we’re so busy working on the details of our next project, next activity or next event. Does this sound familiar – you’re sitting by the pool enjoying a good book while also thinking about work and an upcoming presentation? Admit it, you’re even jotting notes into your phone on the side or making a shopping list for later. Maybe it’s the weekend and you’re heading “down the shore” while thoughts of going to work on Monday creep in and kill the mood? So who was that woman who was at dinner for her son’s birthday and also answering a work e-mail? (see Lynn slowly raise her hand in shame.)

I often have to remind myself that it’s more important to focus on the matters at hand in the present moment. I’m a multi-tasker by nature and I’m a planner, so this is difficult for me. In all fairness though, doesn’t what you’re doing right now and who you’re with – work or play – deserve your full attention? In project management each milestone is worthy of recognition and shouldn’t be glossed over in order to get to the next objective. Stop for just a minute and savor the little (and big) victories that the team achieves.

The old “remember to stop and smell the roses” cliché, holds true. If your head is down, just running from point A to point B, you’ll miss all the good stuff on the way. Here are a few tips to help you chill out this summer:

  • Slow down. Stop rushing from task to task and enjoy a cup of coffee, a chat with a friend or even just your lunch!
  • Don’t over schedule. Sometimes less is more. Can that last minute meeting wait until tomorrow? Cutting yourself some slack in your schedule can give you more time to take a breath instead of always feeling behind.
  • Focus on what you’re doing right now. Right now you’re reading my newsletter, so stop thinking about what you’re making for dinner later or how bad traffic will be on the way home from work.
  • Take five. Feeling rushed, over-scheduled and burdened leads to stress and anxiety. Take five minutes to sit in your car and listen to a favorite song before heading out or take a walk around the building to clear your mind and decompress.

Hey, it’s great to be a planner, disciplined and organized. Project management was designed for people like us! Just remember it’s summer, so take the time to bask in the sunshine without worrying about the work waiting for you at the office or the next project that needs your attention. Enjoy your “present moment” to its fullest. It’s the present you can’t open, but it’s a gift just the same!

-Lynn Faughey, FlexPro COO

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