One Thing At a Time

When my husband asks, “Are you trying to bake that cake, again!” I know it is my cue to slow down and concentrate on one thing at a time.  It is a gentle reminder that started between us When my husband asks, "Are you trying to bake that cake, again!" I know it is my cue to slow down and concentrate on one thing at a time.  It is a gentle reminder that started between us many years ago when our children were small and our life was extremely full of people and activities. Right before guests would arrive...many years ago when our children were small and our life was extremely full of people and activities. Right before guests would arrive for dinner regardless of what a wonderful meal I had prepared, I would inevitably decide to add something else, which often made the moments before their arrival stressful. Trying to do too many things at once cannot only be stressful, but also dangerous.  On my way to one of my appointments this week, I noticed the driver in front of me was talking on the cell phone, taking bites of a hamburger that was placed in her lap and sipping a drink from a cup in the holder of her console–and driving.  It looked like an accident about to happen, and I quickly got out of her way. Unfortunately, this dangerous scene is an example of how we live now.  It seems that, most of the time, we are scrambling around, moving very quickly, doing three or four things at once and only half-listening to the people we come into contact with,.  Our minds are cluttered and overly busy.Having things to make our life easier, like cell phones, can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. The blessing is that we can do so many things at once and always be in touch with everyone. Of course, that has always been easy for most women, because as mothers, we usually have about 18-25 years of “on-the-job” training as a multi-tasked person. From the time the nurse places a child and the extra take-home supplies on a mother's lap on the way out of the hospital, until the day that child leaves home, she learns to cook, talk on the phone, sign school papers, hem a pant leg, and place a band aid gently on a quivering knee, while getting ready for her own job. The curse is-many of us have a hard time slowing down when they leave.  Being able to do everything at once becomes a way of life. I'd estimate that I operate at about half the speed I did when I was a young mother.  However, I've learned that I get as much accomplished, when I concentrate on doing one thing at a time and I enjoy it more too.

Concentrating on the moment can also make a difference in how we treat others.  While at the bank one day, I watched as a very friendly teller was helping a customer.  The man's cell phone rang while she was talking to him and he answered it. Instead of asking the caller to wait, he began to ignore the nice person who was waiting on him.  She finally stopped trying to talk to him. When the transaction was over he simply took his money and walked out without acknowledging her. Labor day is a time we celebrate the dignity and pride of the people in the workforce who are making a difference in the well-being of our country.  We never know what is going on in people's hearts and lives. Sharing and appreciating our collective vocations helps each of us get through a working day. It wasn't a big thing, and maybe it didn't bother her as much as it did me as I watched the scene unfold, but it seemed to me that it could have been a more enjoyable moment for both of them if he had concentrated on one thing at a time.

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Deana Landers
Author for Morningcoffeebeans.com

Deana Landers has had many roles in life — Pastor’s Wife , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer and Motivational Speaker ... more