Forgetting To Remember To Be Present

Photo by Martin Pu00e9chy on

I’m trying to use my time wisely and that’s more challenging now that I don’t have a regular work schedule to plan around. You’d think that having more time would make it easier, but often it doesn’t. Time gets frittered away on numerous things during the day and suddenly it’s dinner time again. Being mindful, as usual, is the answer. 

How To Remember Mindfulness.

For me, the hardest thing about being mindful about time is REMEMBERING to be mindful. Ha ha! Once I remember and bring myself back from whatever I was wandering off to do, I have that “aha” moment. “Oh yes, I’m trying to be mindful.” But then I feel guilty about forgetting. Guilty about, once again, spending my precious time mindlessly. Staying in the present is hard for me.

Don’t Feel Guilty

Living in the present is difficult for everyone, according to Eyal Winter in Psychology Today, because “…human survival relies very much on learning and planning. You can’t learn without living in the past, and you can’t plan without living in the future.”*

Harder To Be Present At Home

But, it almost seems as if it’s harder now that I’m not working. When I’m by myself for most of the day, there is nothing to automatically bring me back to the present like my students did constantly during the school day. Now my mind has time to wander and no one but me to reign it back to the present. I never thought I’d miss recess bells.

A System

After reviewing some tips on how to stay present from Jack Canfield (yes, the Chicken Soup For The Soul, guy). I think I am missing step 2: develop a system.** He suggests setting alarms on your phone or regularly scheduling time in your day to be present. 

I don’t have a system. I need something in my surroundings that happens regularly and that could be a signal to come back to the present, just like my students or the recess bells once were. 

Helpful Tips To Bring Me Into the Present

Headspace*** has a variety of tips for bringing myself back to the present without setting jarring alarms. Many of their ideas rely on attaching mindfulness to everyday activities that you routinely do. I like this idea because I’m more likely to remember. 

Here are three tips I will try:

  • When you brush your teeth, make it an exercise in mindfulness.
  • Stick a blank post-it note or something similar on the back of your front door, to remind you to be mindful as you walk after leaving. 
  • If you are at home more often, then try experimenting with ‘opening and closing.’ By this I mean every time you open or close a door, that becomes the trigger for mindfulness, of being aware and present.***

I’m off to add sticky notes to my doors and one will say “opening and closing.” It takes time to learn new ideas and incorporate them into your life. I will be mindful of this too.

What methods have you found that help you stay present? Comment below.



***Click to check out all the ideas on Headspace for ways to bring yourself back to the present.

1 comment

  1. These are great ideas that I (Master Time Waster) can use. Also I think I will wind up my Dad’s antique mantelpiece clock which has a lovely bonging sound every half hour as a good reminder.


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