It’s not uncommon for me to be in a rush while trying to juggle a few things at once. Recently, I decided to take a closer look at the result of what I thought was good time management. When I took a step back, I saw there was a certain frenetic energy that goes into racing around trying to be efficient. What a paradox!
From the outside looking in, I may have a look of importance on my face as I tend to my tasks as quickly as possible. After all, I’m supposedly getting a lot done. The truth is, it’s impossible to multi-task. We can only really do one thing at any given moment or, at least, do one thing well. It is impossible to have two different thoughts arise at once – one thought may lead to the other, but they are not occurring in the brain at the same time.
I noticed that it actually takes more time to hurry because I often have to re-do the mistakes I make while hustling. It creates a domino effect as the several chores I had been doing begin to tumble over, one at a time. One day I was trying to drink my coffee, get dressed and talk on the phone at the same time. But, I tipped over my coffee, had to change my clothes, mop the floor and call my friend back.
Things like this happen all of the time when I am in a rush. I started to notice that when I do things with care, I always get a better result. Care is using caution, attention, awareness, conscious action, precision, accuracy, guardianship, protection, safekeeping and responsibility. How can I not get a better outcome when I put words like these into practice? Besides, it doesn’t take that much longer.
In other articles I have written about choices; making good or bad decisions, creating good or bad habits – ultimately, we all have the free will to choose. I consider this topic of care as the next rung on the ladder to making the best choice. Care takes operating from a higher state of awareness with your concentration fixed on the task at hand.
Eckhart Tolle inspires his readers in The Power of Now to slow down and live each moment. He writes: “In your everyday life, you can practice this by taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end in itself. Be totally present. When you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptions associated with the activity: the sound and feel of water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap and so on. Be aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence. There is one certain criterion by which you can measure your success in this practice: the degree of peace that you feel within.”
Isn’t Tolle simply saying - do it (anything) carefully? We don’t often stop to think about the present undertaking because we are rushing off to the next place or looking ahead at our to-do list. As a result, we miss the simplicity and joy of the process.
Taking care is living with a level of intention that orchestrates a well-designed and deliberate life. Aim for quality and you will produce a sound product and have a good experience. What arises is happiness and contentment. From my experience, it can be as simple as that.
Simple Steps towards taking care:
1. Slow down
2. Pay attention to what you are doing
3. Do one thing at a time
4. Don’t think ahead or focus on what you still have to do
5. Use your words carefully
6. Be aware of your surroundings at this moment
7. Take personal responsibility for your actions
8. Think about the people your choices affect
9. Consider the outcome ahead of time
10. Enjoy what you are doing
11. Notice how this makes you feel
When we act within this principle of care we become more in tune with the needs of others. Being of service takes deliberate consideration and a sensitivity that extends beyond our personal desires. Perhaps this is an even higher rung on the ladder to care.
When you look after and provide for others you will, in turn, have more respect for yourself. Children and the elderly naturally fall into this category, but so do your neighbors. When you practice the Golden Rule: ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ or the law of Karma and merit: ‘what goes around comes around,’ good things will happen and you will get the best results. The cycle is endless.