How To Filter Out Distractions And Live In The Moment

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Kitty Preziosi and I connected on LinkedIn, followed up by phone and found our outrageously high energy levels and spheres of interest were a good match for each other. It's no wonder. Kitty is the founder of Boomer BreakThrough -- an organization helping boomers find their purpose, passion and productivity in their Encore life.

After 30 minutes of non-stop chatter, we both took a breath and admitted that activity was great, but we were finding ourselves too often too overwhelmed -- which led to us collaborating on the following.


Feeling besieged, beleaguered and weighed down? Filtering out distractions is just the first step to cutting down on those uncomfortable feelings.

Live in the moment. It's easy to put into practice if you become aware of bad habits and practice self-correction. For instance: how do you spend your time when you are driving and are stopped at a red light? I text. I check for new emails. I fiddle with the radio. Dig in my purse for my compact to powder my shiny nose. STOP: TAKE A MOMENT TO REST AND REVIVE. Pause. Breathe deeply. Gaze upward at the sky. Note your surroundings. Observe the pedestrians.

Don't hurry through each task. Brewing coffee? Take a deep breath and enjoy the aroma. If you are hurriedly skimming the headlines -- either in a physical newspaper or on your iPad, find a comfy chair in an enjoyable spot in your house and sit down to do it. You may even find yourself actually reading an entire article.

Stop multitasking. Focus on the task at hand. I was horrified to realize I was watering my plants while plucking off their dead leaves. I was counting my steps. I was making a mental note to toss my growing pile of catalogs stacked on the kitchen counter. I was heating up my cup of cold coffee in the microwave. ALL WHILE NEGOTIATING ON THE PHONE WITH A BUSINESS ASSOCIATE. No wonder I feel inundated and snowed under with too much information. If I had focused only on the call at hand, surely I would have had a better chance at remembering the key points we discussed. Geez, maybe I could have even jotted down a few notes.

Design your actions to serve multiple purposes. If taking a sick friend brownies, use it as an opportunity to try out a new recipe. If you're driving back from an errand and you pass that new boutique you've been itching to explore, well then -- stop, park, and enter.

Stop saying yes to great new projects until you have at least caught up with current ones
. A friend of mine hit me with a stunning observation. Upon hearing me complain about how busy I always am, she grabbed my arm and took me to task. "That's how you construct your life, Iris, so what do you expect?" she demanded. Just because someone asks and it sounds delightful, it doesn't mean you need to commit if it is going to put more pressure on you.

Ignore the ping. Stop checking your email, texts and phone messages continuously. Answer your phone, your texts, and your emails at your convenience. When you read it the first time, act on it then.

Figure out what matters most. Clarify and prioritize. As my friend Dan Blank says, "Identify the few key things that matter most ... and commit fully."

Zero in. For sound and healthy psychological functioning, train your mind to work like a compass. Do what you do best. Pay someone else to do the rest.

In a recent issue of "Vanity Fair," musician John Mellencamp said the following: There is no reward in this world for settling for something you don't want.

Life's too short to go through it feeling overwhelmed.

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