Have you ever gone to dinner with a group of friends and people pulled out their phones to check the latest on social media or text? You thought you were going to dinner with your friends but really you end up going with your friends and all of their followers. Their attention is split between you and their phone. How many times have we been that friend who focuses more on their phone than the friend sitting right across the table?
There are so many different people, situations, and responsibilities that often pull us in various directions. We’re trying to juggle it all but something or someone may be falling through the cracks. We try to multitask in an attempt to be more efficient or productive with our time. We’re on social media while watching the game with friends and family. We listen to the children in our lives read us a book while responding to our emails. We’re present but our attention is split. We’re present but not fully engaged in the moment.
So how can we do both…be present and fully engaged…and do it well?
First, we need to, well, be present. We’ve got to show up and be there. It’s pretty hard to give the gift of presence to the people in our lives if we’re not even there.
Now that we’re there, we need to make some decisions to help us be fully engaged in the moment.
You and I need to say no the right things. This may seem counter-intuitive but let me explain. I can’t do it all. You can’t do it all. No matter how intelligent, creative, responsible, or efficient you are, you can’t do everything and do it well. We have to determine our priorities in life for the particular season we are in. Some priorities will be (or should be) consistent through every season of life. Other responsibilities and priorities will ebb and flow depending on the season. It’s okay to say no in order to say yes to the best for this current time and season.
We may need to say no to texting and social media for a couple of hours so we can fully engage in conversation with the person sitting across the dinner table from us.
We might need to shut the computer down and leave the emails for tomorrow’s work day and listen to a sweet child read us his favorite book.
Let’s choose to give the gift of presence by being there and fully engaged in every moment. By doing this, we’ll add value to every situation and person we meet and let them know they matter more than that “thing” that really can wait a few minutes or hours.