After chipping, cracking or breaking hundreds of glass objects and bones and obtaining cuts in every size or shape all “by accident,” I’ve learned a few things about focusing. Am I just a walking time bomb or is my klutzy behavior based on a lack of attention?
Today I will share a list of why we don’t pay attention and give you some ways to pay more attention as a preventative to mishaps and less fulfilling opportunities. I will also recount two stories from what should have been just an uneventful Friday and both were caused by lack of attention.
Why We Don’t Pay Attention
Let’s start with something from my favorite book…the dictionary. The definition of “attention” as found in the American Heritage Dictionary is:
1.a. The act of close or careful observing or listening.
b. The ability or power to keep the mind on something; the ability to concentrate.
c. Notice or observation.
2. The act of dealing with something or someone; treatment.
Attention doesn’t include everything we want to do right this second or cover everything within our visual field. Being able to pay attention during an action means that we can focus on one thing and keep our mind on it through the duration. Losing the ability to keep our full attention focused often diminishes the experience.
Some of the reasons that we are unable to pay more attention to the tasks, experiences, duties and responsibilities at hand include:
- Too comfortable in our surroundings and take it for granted.
- Overconfident in our abilities.
- Thinking too much about the big picture.
- Fear that we will not get it all done.
- Filling our lives with too many activities.
- Not living in the moment.
- Having too much clutter around us.
- Believing that true multitasking is a reality. (Can you eat a sandwich, whistle and chew gum at the same time? No, you can’t.)
- Not having a place for everything to reside when not in use.
- Not putting back things into their proper place after use.
- There’s not a lot of emotion tied in with the experience.
- Being too tired.
- We are not at optimal health.
- Believing that looking and seeing are the same thing.
Wow! Do we really have so much stuff to do that we are unable to pay attention when it is necessary? Actually, no matter how many tasks are bearing down on you, the outcome will be better if you pay more attention to the details. In some instances, not paying attention to the details can be the difference between living and dying.
Ways To Pay More Attention
There are definite advantages to paying more attention to the details and as I like to say, “Take the time to stop and smell the roses.” There are several character or life modifications that can be made to ensure that we pay more attention to what we are doing right this minute.
- Don’t rush. Slo-o-o-o-o-o-ow down.
- Take breaks frequently.
- Get plenty of sleep. You’ve heard it before – 7 to 8 hours minimum each night.
- Exercise. Walking around the block is a good start.
- Stop procrastinating.
- Get help if you have too much to do, so that you can take the time you need to fulfill the task.
- Eat nutritious food and remain hydrated.
- Avoid harmful substances.
- Alternate between easy or unfulfilling tasks and tedious or exciting tasks.
- Learn relaxation skills through hypnosis.
- Practice. Practice picking out details just like a criminal investigator does while investigating a crime.
- Make a conscious effort to notice things that may cause a problem or be an obstacle.
- Sharpen your mental functions through brain exercises.
- Organize your life.
- Don’t over fill your life with activities. Quality is better than quantity.
Examples Of Not Paying Attention
A&D Ointment is great at healing “Flaky patches of irritated skin usually occurring in exposed areas” and is for more people than just babies. As we age, there is less moisture in our skin and sometimes it is necessary to have some help in healing the dry spots.
My mother is one of those people who has reached an older age and sometimes uses A&D Ointment for her dry patches. Another thing about my mother is that she has always believed that everything should be kept as neat and tidy as the Better Homes And Garden magazine cover. So with that bit of background, this is what she told me…
“I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. I picked up the tube, put a generous amount on my toothbrush and started brushing. I had finished a complete coverage of all my teeth before I realized that I had used the A&D Ointment instead of the toothpaste. The A&D Ointment was stuck like glue to my teeth. It was so gross! I can still taste it!”
Ummm…yeah. Gross!!! Of course, it could have been totally avoided had Mom been paying attention to what she was doing. (Laughing out loud at the vision of Mom with A&D Ointment all over her teeth!)
The second example has to do with sweet Bella!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I treat Bella like my child. When I am home, I always know where she is and what she is doing because she does have a tendency to be too inquisitive. As I was moving some boxes around, I noticed that Bella seemed to be acting a little tired, but I kept on working on the boxes.
Alyssa was in her room with the music blasting and then she left to spend the evening with friends. While I was putting stuff back into the closet, Bella went into Alyssa’s room. When I was finished, I started calling for Bella, but she didn’t appear. So I got my keys, went to the front door, unlatched the lock and then headed for Alyssa’s room shaking the keys. That’s my latest trick to help me find Bella when she is hiding and it seems to work pretty good so far. Bella slowly came out from under Alyssa’s bed.
When I picked her up, I noticed that she wasn’t acting like herself at all. She was very limp, tired and her eyes were rolling around her head. This is where Alyssa is going to deny it, but Bella ate something in Alyssa’s room and I suspect it was either a Benedryl or Sudafed. At the time, I had no idea and was basically freaking out.
I called Alyssa and told her to get home! Ten minutes later Alyssa was home and calm. She stuck around for a few hours as Bella kept getting sleepier and sleepier, but I felt so scared. I’m sure part of my reaction was exacerbated by my PTSD, but I was very scared that Bella was going to die.
Obviously, I was stuck to Bella all night like the A&D Ointment that was stuck to Mom’s teeth. At 5:00 a.m. Bella opened her eyes, wagged her tail, licked my face and rested her paws across my chin and forehead. Then she leaped up, ran to the window and barked at the moon. To say that I was tremendously relieved is truly an understatement.
So it is my belief that if Alyssa had paid more attention to the things she drops on her bedroom floor, none of this would have happened with Bella. That is my story, Alyssa, and I’m sticking to it. Besides, all the people who read my blog know all about nineteen year olds, so I have a whole bunch of support backing me up!
Are You Paying Attention
After all this talk about paying more attention, do you think you are totally aware?
Were you paying attention?